The Connection Between Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes
As men’s health specialists, we see patients in the office every day for erectile dysfunction issues. Up to 66% of men with diabetes have erectile dysfunction, and many do not realize that their diabetes is contributing to their erectile problems. In fact, half of all men with diabetes will experience ED within 10 years of their diagnosis. We see quite a few men for erectile dysfunction that end up being diagnosed with diabetes after their visit with us.
What is the Connection?
In order to get an erection, men need healthy& blood vessels, nerves, male hormones, and sexual stimulation. High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves that control sexual stimulation. They can also damage blood vessels; these are necessary to provide adequate blood flow to the penis in order to achieve and maintain an erection. Diabetes has been shown to accelerate the process of endothelial dysfunction. Endothelial dysfunction is a condition in which the endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels does not function normally.
What Treatment Options are Available for Erectile Dysfunction?
Along with properly managing your diabetes, treatment options include:
- Oral Medications: While oral medications, like sildenafil or tadalafil, are a common first therapy, they tend to only work in about 50% of men with diabetes.
- Vacuum Pump: A penile pump may be a good option if medications have failed or caused side-effects.
- Injection Therapy: This involves injecting medicine directly into the side of your penis with a very small needle each time you want an erection. About 70% of men are satisfied with this treatment option.
- Penile Implants: Men with diabetes are twice as likely to need a penile implant. These devices are considered a permanent solution for ED and last an average of 12-15 years.
Can Erectile Dysfunction be Reversed?
Some men ask if erectile dysfunction can be reversed. It is important to manage your diabetes by keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure under control. Getting your A1C under strict control can halt the progression of erectile dysfunction, but your symptoms may not improve. Many times, ED will still persist because of irreversible nerve damage, but remember the numerous treatment options that are available.
Having erectile dysfunction is frustrating and stressful for both the man and his partner. The providers at Utah Men’s Health are fellowship trained in men’s health issues. If you are experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction contact us today to get your sex life back on track!