Erectile Dysfunction And Diabetes, What To Know

For many people, having diabetes can also put them at higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction or ED. Statistics show that ED is often three and a half times more likely in those men with diabetes versus men who do not have it. Read on to learn more about the complex relationship between erectile dysfunction and diabetes.

A Global Issue

Over five hundred million people worldwide are living with diabetes. Those with diabetes are also at higher risk for heart disease and other complications, as high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves and blood vessels that supply body structures and key organs. Men require healthy blood vessels and nerves to have and maintain an erection for intercourse. Other factors can also contribute to ED, including depression, stress, high blood pressure, being overweight, and even medications. When all these factors combine with diabetes, the odds of getting ED will drastically increase.

Microvascular Disease

When a person’s blood sugar remains high over a substantial period, it can damage the small blood vessels that supply blood to the penis. This is called microvascular endothelial dysfunction, also referred to as microvascular disease. When the muscle walls of the small blood vessels are no longer working as they should, it reduces the amount of blood flowing to the penis. Therefore, the natural process of getting and retaining an erection doesn’t often work either. Further, men with long-standing diabetes or those who regularly have high blood glucose levels are at a higher risk.

ED Symptoms And When To See A Doctor

In addition to the loss of erection, Erectile dysfunction symptoms might include some of the following:

  • Reduced desire to have intercourse with a partner
  • Reduced desire to masturbate
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • You have other symptoms along with ED, such as heart disease
  • Higher than usual stress levels
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions
  • Relationship concerns
  • Obesity
  • Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse

These symptoms are usually signs it’s time to speak with a doctor.

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Ways To Manage Diabetes and ED

Luckily, there are more ways than ever to manage both diabetes and ED. Diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise, managing stress, and medication. For those who have diabetes, even making modest changes in lifestyle may help to avoid serious health issues related to diabetes down the road.

And for those people with diabetes who are experiencing erectile dysfunction, there are ways to manage it through various treatments. These include ED supplements or medications to help men achieve and maintain an erection, surgery or penile implants (although these are considered more invasive treatment options) and realistic silicone penis sleeves. Finally, it all comes down to personal preference.

Living with diabetes and all of its complications can be challenging. Furthermore, learning you have erectile dysfunction can bring on more unique challenges for you and potential partners. However, living your best life is highly attainable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and garnering help from modern medicine and technology.

Laura Henry on

Laura Henry is a writer and editor with a passion for alternative health products and practices. When they’re not outside with their rescue dog, they spend their time exploring local wellness/new age spaces and practicing yoga.

Diabetes Knowledge