Diabetes Can Increase Your Risk for Erectile Dysfunction
Posted: January 21, 2022
Diabetes is on the rise, with an estimated 30 million people in the U.S. suffering from this common disease. If your diabetes isn’t well controlled, this can lead to long-term high blood sugar levels, which can cause many issues for your health. Some risks of high blood sugar include heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney damage. However, what many don’t realize is that diabetes can also increase your risk for erectile dysfunction (ED).
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that causes you to have higher blood sugar levels than normal. Most cases of diabetes are type 2 diabetes, which develops over time when your body doesn’t respond to insulin as well as it should. Type 1 diabetes is less common, accounting for about 10% of cases. It typically occurs early in life and means your body doesn’t produce insulin. Both types of diabetes may increase your risk for developing ED.
Diabetes May Increase Your Risk for Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is incredibly common among people with diabetes. In fact, an estimated 35% to 75% of men with diabetes will experience some level of ED in their lifetime. About half of men develop ED within five to ten years of their diabetes diagnosis. Some estimate that men with diabetes are three times more likely to suffer from ED than those without diabetes, and diabetic men develop ED on average around 10 to 15 years earlier than non-diabetic men.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that erectile dysfunction is not an inevitability of diabetes. It is not a condition you simply have to suffer through. There are many treatments available for ED and keeping your blood sugar levels in check if you have diabetes can help lower your risk for developing this condition. Therefore, it’s important to talk to our providers about your specific circumstances and what you can do to manage your diabetes and help lower your risk for ED.
What is Erectile Dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is a type of sexual dysfunction many men experience. ED is where you are unable to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sex. Now, many men experience this from time to time due to things like stress and fatigue. However, ED is a chronic problem where it occurs frequently and often interferes with your life.
There may be many different causes of ED. Many processes and systems are involved in getting an erection, including mental and physical. Most cases of ED actually have a physical cause, like reduced blood flow to the penis. If ED is caused by a physical health issue, then you might also notice you have fewer nocturnal erections or have difficulty masturbating.
Erectile dysfunction is a serious condition that can affect your sex life, relationships, and overall quality of life. It is also often a sign of other serious health problems, such as heart disease or diabetes. Therefore, if you’re experiencing ED, make an appointment with our men’s health clinic to talk about your options. Our treatment providers can help identify underlying causes of your ED and find treatment solutions that suit your needs and lifestyle.
Diabetes Can Damage the Blood Vessels and Nerves in Your Penis
You might be wondering why diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction. Often, it’s because elevated blood sugar levels can permanently damage blood vessels and nerves throughout your body. Nerve and blood vessel damage can also affect the penis. In many cases, this damage is irreversible, which is why it’s important to work with our providers to create a diabetes management program that works for you.
High blood sugar levels are believed to interfere with nerve signals. Nerve damage, also known as neuropathy, can negatively affect feeling in the penis and can also cause issues with signals from the brain to the penis necessary for a healthy erection.
Long-term high blood sugar levels from diabetes can make blood vessels less elastic, causing them to narrow and harden. Not only can this increase the risk for high blood pressure, but it also limits the amount of blood and oxygen that flows through your body, including to the penis. Without enough blood flow, the penis may not be firm enough for sex.
Diabetes Increases Your Risk for Other Conditions Also Linked with Erectile Dysfunction
Also, diabetes increases your risk for many other health conditions that may also cause erectile dysfunction. Therefore, the link between ED and diabetes is often complex. For instance, diabetes increases your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure, which are also common causes and risk factors for ED.
Another common condition that affects men with diabetes is low testosterone. An estimated 25% of men with diabetes have low testosterone levels. This hormone deficiency can cause many symptoms, one of which is low libido. Decreased sex drive can lead to ED.
In addition, many people with diabetes experience depression and anxiety around their diabetes and managing their condition. These mental health issues can also lead to ED symptoms for many diabetic men. Therefore, there may be many factors of diabetes that can increase the risk for ED.
Treating Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes
There are many ways to treat erectile dysfunction related to diabetes. In many cases, it involves taking an integrated approach to men’s health management. Our providers assess your overall health and help develop treatment programs that address both diabetes and ED to help not only with your symptoms, but the root cause. Each person is different, but some common treatment solutions for diabetes-related erectile dysfunction might include improving blood sugar control, lifestyle changes, and ED medications.
Get Your Blood Sugar Under Control
If your ED symptoms are related to your diabetes, one of the first things we will discuss is how to keep your blood sugar levels in healthy ranges. Since elevated blood sugar levels can cause permanent damage to your nerves and blood vessels, it’s important to get them in check, whether through insulin, other medications, or lifestyle changes. Your treatment options depend on many individual factors, so visit our men’s health clinic to learn more about managing your diabetes.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Some lifestyle changes may also help with your ED and diabetes. For instance, if you’re overweight, losing weight can lower blood sugar levels and increase blood flow throughout your body (including to the penis). Getting plenty of exercise can help with this, as well as improve your heart health and may even improve testosterone levels. Also, if you smoke, our team can recommend strategies to help you stop, as smoking is bad for both your blood sugar levels and your blood vessels.
Erectile Dysfunction Medications
Many men with erectile dysfunction, whether caused by diabetes or other factors, may need medications to improve erection quality. Some of the most commonly prescribed medications for ED include sildenafil and tadalafil. These are pills you can take before sexual activity that help increase blood flow to the penis. Many men respond well to these medications and notice satisfying results.
If one type of medication doesn’t work for you, don’t get discouraged. Our providers can help find treatments that work well for you. For instance, while some men may not respond to sildenafil, there are other options, like erectile dysfunction injection treatments. Our team works with you to find solutions tailored to your needs.
Visit Our Men’s Health Clinic for Help with Diabetes, Erectile Dysfunction, and Complete Men’s Health Management
Our providers at Low T Center are here to help you take control of your health. We offer comprehensive treatment solutions to address your symptoms and underlying causes. Our team offers treatment services for a wide range of conditions, including ED, diabetes, and low testosterone. Make an appointment today to take the first step to living a healthier life.
Disclaimer: This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Low T Center. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.