The Link Between Diabetes and ED

The Link Between Diabetes and ED

Since diabetes is a blood sugar problem, people usually don’t associate it with erectile dysfunction. 

However, having high levels of sugar in your bloodstream can significantly impact both your circulation and nervous system, especially when you have poorly controlled diabetes. And, unfortunately, that can take a toll on your sex life.

At Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina in Wilmington, our team understands that occasional erectile difficulties usually don't mean you have erectile dysfunction (ED)

However, if you have persistent problems achieving or maintaining an erection, you should definitely schedule a visit. Not only is this a common problem for those who know they have diabetes, it can also be an indicator for those who haven’t received a diagnosis. Our team explains why.

The problem with diabetes

There are several forms of diabetes, but 90% of cases involve Type 2 — often associated with being inactive or overweight. However, while there are numerous forms of diabetes with different causes, they all have one thing in common: high blood sugar.

The problem with having chronically high blood sugar is that it can damage nerves and small blood vessels all over your body, putting you at risk of health complications, such as:

And, for men, erectile dysfunction.

Diabetes and ED

When sexually aroused, the male body releases nitric oxide into the bloodstream. This chemical tells arteries and muscles in the penis to relax, allowing the blood to flow into the penis, resulting in an erection.

Having high blood sugar interrupts this delicate process. Not only does it damage the nerves controlling sexual stimulation and blood flow to the area, but it also causes the body to make less nitric oxide. The result? Difficulty achieving an erection firm enough for intimacy.

An estimated 35% of men between 40-70 years of age have moderate to severe ED. Unfortunately, men living with diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to experience these symptoms. For those 45 and under with ED, it can be a sign of Type 2 diabetes. 

Managing ED when you have diabetes

Now for the good news: You can reclaim your sexual health.

Our team takes a whole-body approach to diagnosing and treating ED. First, we search the underlying issue, including diabetes complications like nerve and blood vessel damage. 

Then we put together a personalized treatment strategy that often includes lifestyle changes, ranging from dietary changes and exercise to weight loss and stress reduction.

We can also address the underlying issues of ED, like poor circulation and nerve damage, with treatments, such as:

Ultimately, if conservative treatments fail to address your ED symptoms, we also have surgical solutions, like penile implants. These ED treatments use a special implantable, inflatable penile prosthesis within the penis to control your erection.

Do you have diabetes and ED symptoms? We can restore your sexual vitality. Contact Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina by calling 910-421-2505 or requesting an appointment online today.

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