Diabetes and erectile dysfunction -What is erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the inability to get and maintain an erection long enough for intercourse..
Studies show that 35-75 percent of men with diabetes will go on to develop ED. They will also tend to develop ED about 10-15 years earlier than men without diabetes.
Diabetes can cause ED because it can damage the blood supply to the penis and the nerves that control an erection.
Improperly managed diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction due to its effect on the blood.
When a man becomes sexually aroused, a chemical called nitric oxide is released into his bloodstream. This nitric oxide causes the arteries and muscles in the penis to relax, allowing more blood to flow into the penis. This gives the man an erection.
Men with diabetes struggle with fluctuations in blood sugar, especially if their condition is not managed poorly.
When their blood sugar is too high, less nitric oxide is produced. This could mean that there isn’t enough blood flowing into the penis to maintain or get an erection. Low levels of nitric oxide are often found in people with diabetes.
Other causes of erectile dysfunction
Here are some other reasons that lead to ED:
- Obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
- Hormonal problems such as low testosterone
- Psychological problems including stress, anxiety, and depression
- Nervous system problems including damage to the spinal cord or brain
- Smoking, drinking too much alcohol and using certain illegal drugs.
- Certain medicines such as medicines for high blood pressure and depression
Pelvic trauma or surgery on the prostate, bowel, or bladder can damage the nerves that connect to the penis. This nerve damage can also lead to ED.
Testing and diagnosis
Your doctor will usually perform some of the following tests to diagnose ED:
- Blood tests to check for increased blood sugar, which can be a sign of diabetes.
- Hormone tests to measure levels of testosterone and other hormones
- Nervous system tests, such as blood pressure and sweat tests, can rule out nerve damage to the heart, blood vessels, and sweat glands.
- Urinalysis to check for sugar in the urine, which can be a sign of diabetes.
- Physical exam to evaluate genitals and nerve reflexes in the legs and penis.
- Patient history to help determine why someone has problems with an erection and under what circumstances.
- A sexual health questionnaire (SHIM) to help diagnose the presence and severity of ED.
- Injection of a drug into the penis to check that the blood supply to the penis is normal.
- Inject medication into the penis to check if the blood supply to the penis is normal.
Share on Controlling diabetes is a good way to reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction due to diabetes is now much better understood. Good control of diabetes can reduce the risk of ED.
Other preventive measures such as stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake will help reduce the risk of developing ED
Other lifestyle changes that may be helpful include:
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise: Studies showTrusted Source that men change their diets to a diet low in saturated fat and high in fiber and activity. Moderate physical activity each week can improve ED without prescription medication.
- Weight loss: Some studiesTrusted Source People who lose weight have increased testosterone levels and blood flow resulting in better erections.
- Reduce stress: ED can cause stress and tension in a relationship. Counseling can be helpful even if the source of sexual dysfunction is physical. People with ED should try to find time to relax and get enough sleep each night.
A new studyTrusted Source also suggests that supplementing with amino acids called l-arginine and l-citrulline may also help improve erectile function. These acids are known to increase the body’s production of nitric oxide, which can increase blood flow to the penis. As stated previously, low levels of nitric oxide are commonly found in men with diabetes.
Treatment for ED will depend on the cause and has a good range of treatment options. The same goes for men with diabetes and men with ED from other causes.
Doctors can switch any prescription medication that can cause ED.
The most common treatment is by mouth. These substances have been shown to have a beneficial effect on many men with diabetes, restoring sexual function. Certain medications called PDE-5 inhibitors are used to treat ED.
The four most common regulations are:
These drugs cause an erection by increasing blood flow to the penis. They require sexual stimulation to be effective. They should be taken 30-60 minutes before sexual intercourse.
Share on Oral tablets such as sildenafil are commonly used to treat erectile dysfunction.
There are several other forms of ED treatment. Including:
- Hormone therapy: Testosterone replacement therapy is recommended for men with ED who have low testosterone levels.
- Penile injection therapy: Injection of alprostadil (Caverject) directly into the penis before intercourse has been approved for men who have not responded to oral therapy. The injection of this hormone increases the blood supply to the penis to produce an erection.
- Vacuum pump therapy: A plastic tube connected to the pump is placed over the penis. The pump pushes air out of the tube and this causes blood to be drawn into the penis. A ring is then placed at the base of the penis to maintain an erection during intercourse.
- Penile prosthesis: This is only considered when all other treatment options have failed because it requires major surgery. An inflatable rod is implanted in the penis to help it get erect for intercourse.
- Psychological support: If erectile dysfunction is caused by psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression, the patient can be counseled.
A balanced diet, exercise, and good stress management have been shown to be equally important in the treatment of diabetes.
Originally posted 2021-11-04 11:13:46.