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.
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.