Can Type 2 Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when you’re regularly unable to get or maintain an erection.  Though the risk of ED increases as you get older, it has a number of possible causes that can affect you regardless of age. If you have type 2 diabetes, you’re at an elevated risk. Part of managing diabetes is understanding and controlling its complications, including effects on your sexual health.

If you’re experiencing ED, don’t be afraid to seek treatment. You may feel embarrassed, but it’s a common, manageable condition.

If you live in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, or Greater South Florida area, visit Drs. Craig Herman, Steve Kester, and the caring staff at the Urology Center of Florida. The practice is a comfortable, safe environment to manage ED and other men’s health conditions.

How does type 2 diabetes lead to ED?

Type 2 diabetes is the result of your body not being able to regulate the amount of blood glucose (blood sugar) in your blood. Your body needs blood glucose to provide energy to your cells, and normally it uses insulin to control the amount of it your body has. When you can’t produce enough insulin to remove excess blood glucose or your body becomes resistant to it, you develop diabetes.

Diabetes can cause complications throughout your body, including kidney, heart, and nerve damage. If you don’t have your blood sugar under control, these complications are likelier. An erection is a complicated physiological process, and ED can result from problems at any stage of it.

Conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease, commonly linked to diabetes, can interfere with your ability to get an erection because they interfere with blood flow to your penis. Nerve damage, or neuropathy, can interfere with sexual stimulation, another key to achieving and maintaining an erection.

Type 2 diabetes increases your risk of ED by two to three times. About half of the U.S. population that has diabetes (around 30 million people) are men, and over 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. Research from the Boston University Medical Center indicates that half of the men diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will get ED within 5-10 years. However, know that if your manage your diabetes successfully, you can also prevent ED as a complication.

How can you prevent it?

Controlling your chances of getting ED from type 2 diabetes means taking care of yourself and reducing the risks. Monitoring and controlling your blood glucose is very important. You can do this through a combination of good habits: exercising, eating healthy, getting more sleep, reducing stress, reducing alcohol, and refraining from smoking. 

Making these lifestyle changes and sticking with them can help reduce your risk of ED and many other complications related to type 2 diabetes. Medications to control your insulin are also available, including metformin, sulfonylureas, meglitinides, and others. These are designed to help your body produce more insulin to better process your blood glucose. Successful diabetes management can prevent the damage to blood flow and nerves that leads to ED.

Your doctor at Urology Center of Florida can help pinpoint the relationship between your diabetes and ED. If you continue to experience issues with sexual function even while controlling your diabetes, you may benefit from targeted ED treatment, including medication to improve blood flow to your penis. 

Though ED affects millions of men, it’s a treatable, manageable condition. If you are dealing with effects of ED from type 2 diabetes or other causes, make an appointment with Drs. Herman, Kester and the Urology Center of Florida today to get help.

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