Can Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Medically Reviewed By Gerard Marroquin, MD

Can Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is a common condition, especially in men over the age of 50, and those with diabetes. Research shows that 75% of men with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes are affected by this condition. Not only is ED prevalent in men with diabetes, but data suggests that diabetes can bring on this condition 10 to 15 years sooner. 

Although ED is not always preventable, there are ways you can manage the condition and still enjoy a fulfilling sex life with your partner. Erectile dysfunction does not mean the end of intimacy and a fulfilling sex life. 

This guide will offer insight into how diabetes can impact erectile dysfunction, and offer ways to manage ED to enjoy a fulfilling sex life. 

How Diabetes Impacts Erectile Dysfunction

There are multiple ways that diabetes, and the resulting symptoms, can impact erectile dysfunction. For instance, high blood pressure lowers blood levels of nitric oxide, a necessary component for sexual satisfaction and erection. Keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range may help avoid this problem. 

Research has also shown that diabetes can affect the nerve endings of the penis, and indeed, throughout the entire body, resulting in a lowered ability to get and maintain an erection. Furthermore, reduced blood flow is also a common complaint among those suffering from diabetes, and this can significantly impair sexual activity and fulfilment. 

The good news is that there are a number of ways to reduce these symptoms, which may help you restore some penile function. These methods can include: 

  • Controlling your blood sugar – Staying on top of your blood sugar levels and following doctor’s orders at keeping your glucose controlled is one way to prevent complications of diabetes, including ED. 
  • Exercising regularly – Keeping active helps reduce the odds of obesity, which is a risk factor for ED, whether diabetic or not. Regular exercise can also increase blood flow, and improve overall cardiovascular performance and function. 
  • Eating healthy foods – Studies have shown that overconsumption of sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs can worsen diabetes complications and further health problems. 
  • Avoiding smoking – Smoking reduces blood oxygen levels to your nerves, organs, and lungs. Reduced oxygen will only worsen the reduced blood flow caused by diabetes, resulting in a much greater chance of developing ED. 

How to Reduce Erectile Dysfunction Symptoms

There are various ways to reduce the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, even if you suffer from diabetes. It is important to remember that an occasional bout of ED can be completely normal and it may not signal any significant problems with your sexual performance. Ongoing ED, however, presents much more cause for concern. 

While not physically dangerous, ED can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and even deeper psychological problems. For this reason, it is essential to discuss ED with your doctor, and be conscious of your emotional and mental state. If you find that ED is negatively affecting your mental health, it is advised that you speak with a mental health professional. 

Steps you can take to improve Erectile Dysfunction:

  1. Talk to your doctor. Even if you think you know the underlying cause, you should have a complete checkup by your general practitioner to determine if there may be other underlying issues causing your ED. For instance, ED might be the first sign of heart disease in some cases. 
  2. Be open and honest with your partner. It is completely possible to have a satisfying sex life with ED. Talking to your partner about your feelings surrounding this condition, and discussing how you can still remain intimate should always be a part of the discussion. It is entirely possible to achieve full sexual satisfaction with ED, and there is help out there.
  3. Get in touch with a sex professional. Seeing a sex therapist may feel awkward or even embarrasing at first, but the truth is that they can help you unpack your feelings around your body, your sex life, and help you explore ways to enjoy intimacy with your partner regardless of your condition. 
  4. Be open to treatment options. There are a wide range of treatments available for erectile dysfunction, but any preventative solutions need to address any possible underlying health conditions first. If that is not sufficient to restore sexual function, there are therapeutic and surgical options available. Finally, anxiety and depression can lead to a vicious cycle of performance anxiety. Getting help for these symptoms to relax during sex can help improve your symptoms significantly. 
  5. Pay attention to your health. Maintaining proper nutrition and exercise is always important, but even more so if you suffer from diabetes. Keeping a diet as healthy as possible is one way to lessen the effects of diabetes and any subsequent complications. 

Consider a Non-Surgical, Non-Medical Option for ED

NonMedErect is a new, innovative management option for erectile dysfunction. It is an ideal solution for those who have not had success with alternative medical treatments, and who do not wish to undergo surgery to resolve their condition. 

First commissioned for the US Army for soldiers who sustained catastrophic injuries on the battlefield, NonMedErect offers a wearable prosthetic device that offers a wholesome intimate and sexual experience. NonMedErect is a safe, non-medical solution that does not require a doctor’s prescription. For more information, and to speak with our highly confidential professionals, please contact us today.