Diabetes And Erectile Dysfunction

Published by Aaron Le

10 min read

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common issue influenced by various factors, including age, medications, low testosterone, and mental health. Diabetes has a strong correlation with ED, affecting approximately 6 in 10 men with diabetes to varying degrees, according to the International Journal of Impotence Research. This article provides insights into how diabetes impacts erectile function and offers guidance for a more satisfying sex life despite diabetes.

bluechew pouch on a nightstand

Link between diabetes and erectile dysfunction

Diabetes, affecting over 34 million people in the US, disrupts blood sugar regulation. It comes in two types:

  • Type 1 diabetes: a genetic disorder impacting insulin production, a hormone facilitating glucose conversion to energy in cells.
  • Type 2 diabetes: often linked to poor diet and lack of exercise.

Both types heighten the risk of erectile dysfunction (ED), with more research focused on type 2 diabetes. Factors like obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity contribute to type 2 diabetes and are also ED risk factors. Diabetic men are three times more likely to have ED than non-diabetic men, and they tend to develop it 10-15 years earlier. The connection between diabetic complications and erectile function revolves around your ability to achieve an erection.

How does diabetes affect sexual function?

Understanding how diabetes increases the risk of ED involves grasping the science behind erections. A penile erection is a "hemodynamic event," meaning it relies on blood flow. When sexually aroused, your penis releases nitric oxide, relaxing muscles and arteries for hardness. However, conditions associated with diabetes, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, neuropathy (nerve damage), heart disease, and sleep apnea, can harm the crucial arteries and nerves needed for erections. Moreover, diabetes may result in dangerously high blood sugar levels. If left untreated, this can damage blood vessels, hindering sufficient blood flow to the penis and preventing an erection.

How to treat erectile dysfunction if you have diabetes

Stabilize Your Blood Sugar:

Practice Healthy Habits:

Check Your Medications:

  • Discuss medications with your doctor, especially those for managing diabetes, blood pressure, and antidepressants.
  • Some blood pressure and antidepressant medications (such as SSRIs) have links to ED.

Consider ED Medications:

  • Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors are common ED treatments.
  • Oral medications like Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), and Vardenafil (Levitra) relax penile vascular tissue for improved blood flow.
  • BlueChew offers chewable tablets containing Sildenafil and Tadalafil for convenient use.

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