Understanding the Link Between Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

Understanding the Link Between Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

From vision loss to peripheral nerve damage, diabetes can cast a wide net over your health, which includes your sexual health. The reality is that men with type 2 diabetes are 3.5 times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction (ED) than men without diabetes.

As men’s health experts, the Arizona Urology team understands all too well how diabetes can affect sexual function, and we’re here to help — at least with the ED aspect.

A checklist for optimal sexual function

There’s a lot that goes into an erection, starting with a thought or sensation that triggers arousal. From there, your brain sends signals to your penis to relax the muscles to allow blood to flow in. Once blood fills your penis, you have special valves that close to trap the blood so that you can maintain an erection.

Once you ejaculate or the arousal is over, the valves release the blood, and your erection winds down.

As you can see, an erection involves many areas and systems in your body, including your:

A problem in any one of these areas can lead to ED, but the most common driver is lack of blood flow. Experts predict that ED will affect about 322 million men around the globe by 2025, and aging and vascular-related issues primarily drive this large number.

The diabetes effect

When you have diabetes, you have higher-than-normal glucose levels in your blood due to a lack of insulin and/or insulin resistance. These high glucose levels can affect two key areas needed for sexual function — good blood flow and healthy nerve function.

Also, if you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to have low testosterone, which can also affect sexual function.

So, between potentially low hormones, nerve damage, and lack of sufficient blood flow to your penis, it’s little wonder why diabetes so often leads to ED.

Solutions for your diabetes-related ED

As you might imagine, the first step to addressing ED related to diabetes is to work with your primary care provider to manage your diabetes.

Once you get your diabetes under control, we can assess your ED and come up with solutions to help restore sexual function. We can try medications and/or hormone replacement therapy to see if these have an impact. 

If your ED continues, we can try vacuum devices, and if the damage from the diabetes is too great, we can explore implanting a device into your penis to help restore sexual function.

To figure out which solution is best for your ED, we invite you to contact one of our locations in Phoenix, Goodyear, Gilbert, or Glendale, Arizona, to schedule an appointment.

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