Is Diabetes Linked to ED?
Men who struggle with erectile dysfunction (ED) find they often can’t get or maintain an erection firm enough for sex. Although it’s extremely common—as many as 30 million men in America have this problem—it can leave sufferers feeling isolated, frustrated, and discouraged.
Among men who have diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, ED is particularly widespread. In fact, studies suggest that 35 to 75 percent of men with diabetes will go on to develop ED at some point, compared to 26 percent of the general population—and over the age of 70, about 95 percent of men with diabetes have some difficulty with an erection. Men with diabetes also tend to develop ED 10 to 15 years sooner than men without diabetes.
So what’s the connection?
Why are men with diabetes more likely to have ED?
Although the causes of ED are many and complex, one of the main reasons it’s more prevalent in men with diabetes is that long-term high blood sugar levels can cause damage to nerves and blood vessels—including those serving the penis. So even if a man has normal testosterone levels and his desire for sex is fine, he still may not be able to get a firm erection.
Another way diabetes can interfere with arousal is by suppressing production of the substance that stimulates the erectile tissue in the penis to fill with blood. When a man becomes sexually aroused, a neurotransmitter called nitric oxide gets released into his bloodstream. Nitric oxide makes the arteries and muscles in the penis relax, which allows more blood to flow into the penis and causes an erection.
When blood sugar levels get too high, less nitric oxide is produced, which can mean there’s not enough blood flow to the penis for a strong erection. For men with diabetes who struggle with swings in blood sugar level, this can be a problem.
What’s more, having diabetes (especially type 2 diabetes), or being overweight (or both), doubles the chance that a man will have low testosterone—which itself can mean less sexual desire, and fewer and weaker erections.
What can men with diabetes do to help prevent ED?
If you have diabetes and you’re having trouble getting an erection, first talk to your doctor. It could well be that other health problems that often go with diabetes, like high blood pressure or kidney disease, are at the root of your difficulties. Or maybe you’re taking a medicine that causes ED as a side effect. If so, your doctor should be able to help pinpoint the real cause and guide you to the right course of action.
In any case, carefully controlling your blood sugar levels can certainly help minimize erection problems, and can even prevent them altogether, by limiting nerve and blood vessel damage. You’ll also feel much healthier (and sexier) in general!
There’s a recent study suggesting that amino acids called l-arginine and l-citrulline may help improve erectile function. We know these amino acids increase the body’s production of nitric oxide, the neurotransmitter that stimulates erectile tissue. Since men with diabetes tend to produce lower levels of nitric acid, maybe supplementing the diet with these substances could make it easier to get an erection.
Weight loss may also be a big part of the solution for many men. Being overweight means your body is less able to use the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar—and as we know, excessive blood sugar increases your chances of nerve and vascular damage, which cause ED. Even a small weight loss of 5 to 7 percent of your body weight can have a big impact on sexual performance. There’s evidence to prove that in men with diabetes weight loss improves testosterone levels, sexual desire, blood flow, and erectile function.
If you’re a man with diabetes who’s struggling with ED, get in touch with us at Evolution Medical Group to about the safe and ground-breaking solutions we offer—including our personalized Body N Balance wellness and weight loss systems, which will support you through manageable and lasting weight loss.