Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can impact just about every part of the body. Most people know about possible complications like heart disease and kidney damage. But few men are aware of the link between diabetes and erectile dysfunction.
Even doctors and researchers may have underestimated the connection between these two conditions. According to multiple studies, more than half of men with diabetes also have erectile dysfunction. Compared with the rest of the population, ED is 3.5 times more likely to occur in diabetic men.
Why is ED more common in diabetic men?
There are a variety of issues that can cause erectile dysfunction. Among the most common is a problem with blood flow, which is an essential part of achieving and maintaining an erection.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by high blood sugar levels. Over long periods, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves. Although it’s not clear exactly how high blood sugar harms blood vessels, this damage causes issues like heart disease, stroke, and erectile dysfunction in men.1
Low testosterone also causes problems for diabetic men, including low libido and erectile dysfunction. Reduced testosterone is also associated with increased body fat, fatigue, and decreased motivation, all of which can contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Men who have already been diagnosed with diabetes may have been warned that erectile dysfunction is a common complication of the disease. But for men who think they’re otherwise healthy, erectile problems could signal undiagnosed heart problems, diabetes or both.
If you’re developing erectile dysfunction and experiencing symptoms of diabetes – increased thirst and hunger, frequent urination – it’s a good idea to have your doctor check your blood sugar levels.
Treatment options for diabetes and erectile dysfunction
Prescription medications like Viagra and Cialis are popular treatments that help to increase blood flow. But these drugs tend to be less effective in diabetic men compared to the general population. For erectile dysfunction caused by low testosterone, Viagra and Cialis alone aren’t usually effective, and may need to be combined with testosterone therapy.
Men with diabetes and heart disease should take extra care when choosing an ED treatment. History of congestive heart failure or recent heart attack might mean it’s unsafe to take drugs like Viagra and Cialis. Men who use nitrates to control chest pain should never take Viagra, Cialis, or similar oral ED drugs. In these cases, injectable drugs like Caverject may offer a more safe solution to treating erectile dysfunction.
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DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.