Does Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

There has been clinical studies and data showing a correlation between Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction

For men, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to an increased risk of erectile dysfunction, or ED for short. Based on data from a survey study, the risk is 50% higher for men with diabetes compared to men without diabetes, regardless of what type of diabetes they have. While many men may develop ED as they age, those who have diabetes may develop ED 5 – 10 years earlier than most.

It is important to note that ED can be related to insufficient blood flowing to penis (vascular), emotional issues such as depression (psychological), or problems with the nerves to the penis (neurological). Diabetes can cause or make these issues worse. As such, patients with diabetes who experience ED tend to notice that the problem gradually gets worse.

Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction | Clinical Diabetes

Erectile dysfunction (ED) has been the most neglected complication of diabetes. It is a common abnormality that affects more than 20 million American men. The prevalence of ED in the general population between the ages of 40 to 70 years is 52%. In men with diabetes, it ranges from 35% to 75%, and occurs at an earlier age. There have been several advances in the understanding of the physiologic and biochemical mechanisms controlling penile erections. Improved techniques in diagnoses and treatment of impotence have given the male with diabetes some hope in the management of this prevalent and emotionally disturbing complication.

Why Do Men with Diabetes Have Erectile Dysfunction?

The causes of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes are complex and involve impairments in nerve, blood vessel, and muscle function. There are a number of factors to consider when you have diabetes

  • Damage to blood vessels

    When you have diabetes there’s more sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream, and this can damage small blood vessels (called microvascular disease). This is what leads to kidney damage, loss of vision, and nerve pain. But, damage to small blood vessels in the penis also makes it harder to have and maintain an erection. Clinical data shows  ED is worse in men with long-standing, uncontrolled diabetes. Men with diabetes and high blood pressure may also see an increased risk of ED due to further damage to the vessels in the penis.
  • Low testosterone levels

    It’s estimated that 25% of men with diabetes have low testosterone levels. As testosterone has a large impact on sexual function in men, low testosterone can lead to ED.
  • Depression

    Many men with diabetes may become depressed or have anxiety due to the stress of having to manage a difficult disease. Depression can lead to various issues with having an erection. One example is a lack of sleep that causes a loss of morning erections (“morning wood”), which is natural in healthy men. Anxiety can cause men to suddenly have a loss of an erection during sex or have difficulty making an erection.
  • Medication side effects

    Many men who have diabetes are treated with various medications to reduce their risk of heart problems or complications from diabetes. Some medications can lead to ED by lowering blood pressure or causing other side effects that make an erection difficult.

Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction – What You Need To Know

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction.  Men who have diabetes are three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than men who do not have diabetes.  Among men with erectile dysfunction those with diabetes are likely to experience the problem as much as 10 to 15 years earlier than men without diabetes.  A recent study of a clinic population revealed that 5% of the men with erectile also had undiagnosed diabetes. The risk of erectile dysfunction increases with the number of years and severity of Diabetes.  

Even though 20%-75% of men with diabetes have erectile dysfunction, it can be successfully managed with the help of your doctor.

Talk to an expert

Having erectile dysfunction can be a real challenge. It can leave you and your partner feeling frustrated and discouraged. Take steps to cope with erectile dysfunction — and get your sex life back on track.

Many men are reluctant to discuss erectile dysfunction with their doctors or even their partners. Don’t let shame or embarrassment be the obstacle to finding a professional to talk with.  One small conversation can make a big difference.

Manage Your Diabetes

  • Schedule an appointment with your physician

    Your doctor will discuss options and consider underlying causes of your erectile dysfunction and can give you information about medication and other erectile dysfunction treatments.
  • Ask if there’s anything you can do to better manage your diabetes

    Improving your blood sugar levels can help prevent nerve and blood vessel damage that can lead to erectile dysfunction. You’ll also feel better overall and improve your quality of life. Ask your doctor if you’re taking the right steps to manage your diabetes.
  • Ask about other health problems

    It’s common for men with diabetes to have other chronic conditions that can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Work with your doctor to make sure you’re addressing any other health problems.
  • Check your medications

    Ask your doctor if you’re taking any medications that might be worsening your erectile problems, such as drugs used to treat depression or high blood pressure. Making a change to your medications might help.
  • Seek counseling

    Anxiety and stress can make erectile dysfunction worse. Erectile dysfunction can also have a negative impact on your relationship with your intimate partner. A psychologist, counselor or other mental health specialist can help you and your partner find ways to cope.

Erectile Dysfunction & Diabetes – Treatment Options

There are erectile dysfunction treatments available. Ask your doctor if one of these may be a good choice for you:

  • Oral medications

    Erectile dysfunction medications include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis, Adcirca), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn) or avanafil (Stendra). These pills can help ease blood flow to your penis, making it easier to get and keep an erection. Check with your doctor to see whether one of these medications is a safe choice for you.
  • Vacuum-constriction device

    This device, also called a penis pump or a vacuum pump, is a hollow tube you put over your penis. It uses a pump to draw blood into your penis to create an erection.  A band placed at the base of the penis maintains the erection after the tube is removed. This hand- or battery-powered device is simple to operate and has a low risk of problems.
  • Penile implants

    In cases where medications or a penis pump won’t work, a surgical penis implant might be an option. Semirigid or inflatable penile implants are a safe and effective option for many men with erectile dysfunction.
  • Testosterone therapy

    For men who have low testosterone levels, testosterone replacement therapy may be used to help increase sex drive and treat ED. However, since testosterone therapy is known to potentially cause heart problems, and diabetes also increases the risk of heart problems, this is something that should be carefully considered with your doctor and closely monitored.

Life-style changes can make a difference in your overall health which in turn helps facilitate a healthy sex life:

  • Stop smoking

    Smoking narrows your blood vessels, which can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction. Smoking can also decrease levels of the chemical nitric oxide, which signals your body to allow blood flow to your penis.There are a number of effective strategies to help you stop smoking.
  • Lose excess pounds device

    Being overweight can cause — or worsen — erectile dysfunction.
  • Physical Activity

    Exercise will help with reducing stress and losing weight which increases blood flow. Blood flow is needed for erections.
  • Limit or cut out alcohol

    Excess alcohol can contribute to erectile dysfunction. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
  • Reducing stress

    Diabetes can lead to mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, which can cause or worsen ED through psychological stress. Overcoming stress can be accomplished in multiple ways, such as through meditation or counseling.

In Summary

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that you will have for life, though both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be well-controlled through medications, proper diet, and exercise.

Although ED can become a permanent condition, this typically isn’t the case for men who experience occasional erectile difficulties. If you have diabetes, you may still be able to overcome ED through a lifestyle that includes sufficient sleep, no smoking, and stress reduction. D medications are usually well-tolerated, and can be used for many years to help overcome any ED problems.

If you have Erectile Dysfunction , call us for a consultation so we can carefully walk you through the treatment options best for you. Please see Our Services or call us at (916) 245-3043 to schedule an appointment!