Diabetes can cause ED because it can damage the blood supply to the penis and the nerves that control an erection.

Between 35% and 75% of men suffering from diabetes will also experience some kind of erectile dysfunction over the course of their lifetime, as opposed to 26% in the general population, and onset of ED also occurs 10–15 years earlier in men with diabetes than it does in sex-matched counterparts without diabetes but can diabetes directly cause ed?

When a man becomes sexually aroused, the chemical called ‘nitric oxide’ is released into the bloodstream, this nitric oxide then tells the arteries and the muscles in the penis to relax, which allows more blood to flow into the penis. Thus giving a man an erection.

When the blood sugar levels get too high, less nitric oxide is produced. This can mean that there is not enough blood flowing into the penis to get or to keep an erection. Low levels of nitric oxide are often found in those with diabetes. Erectile Dysfunction is especially common amongst those who suffer with Type 2 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is a condition that causes too much sugar in the blood.

Sexual issues, or erectile dysfunction, are common and can happen to most people at some stage during their lives – with or without diabetes. It’s also important to note that having diabetes doesn’t automatically mean that you will have sexual problems or erectile dysfunction, however those with diabetes are more likely to suffer with erectile dysfunction than those without. Difficulty in maintaining an erection may precede the diagnosis of diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic and long-lasting health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy, when you eat, most of your food is broken down into sugar (glucose) which is then released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, your body then signals your pancreas to release insulin – insulin allows the blood sugar in your body’s cells to be used as energy. 

If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or you can’t use the insulin it makes as well as your body should be. When there isn’t enough insulin or your cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar then stays in your bloodstream. With time, this can cause some serious health problems such as, heart disease, kidney disease and even loss of vision. 

Although there isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, there are preventative measures that you can take, such as healthy eating, weight loss and being physically active or taking medicine as needed. It’s always best to consult your Doctor.

So, what causes Erectile Dysfunction amongst diabetics?

The causes of diabetic related Erectile Dysfunction are rather complex, they are based around the changes within the body. These are changes that affect the nerves, the muscles and blood vessel functions and can form from damage to the nerves and blood vessels caused by poor long-term blood sugar control.

In order to obtain an erection, men need to have healthy blood vessels, nerves, male hormones and a desire to have sex. 

Erectile Dysfunction can also be linked to other conditions that are common amongst men with diabetes, for example, high blood pressure & heart disease. 

Other factors that can cause Erectile Dysfunction:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking 
  • Doing too little exercise/other lifestyle habits 
  • Injuries can also damage nerves that are linked to the penis 
  • Many common medications can also be linked the Erectile Dysfunction
  • Psychological factors: anxiety, guilt, depression, paranoia & low self-esteem can also lead to cases of Erectile Dysfunction.

Lifestyle tips to help with erectile dysfunction:

  • Stress reduction: ED can be linked to stress and can also cause stress or tension in a relationship; counselling can be helpful to those who are suffering from stress/anxiety or other psychological factors. Find time to relax and also ensure you get enough sleep each night.
  • Weight loss: even a small amount of weight loss can improve erectile dysfunction and sexual desire in men with diabetes. Those who lose weight can increase testosterone levels and blood flow that then leads to better erections. 
  • Healthy diet & exercise: diets lower in saturated fats and high in fibre alongside regular exercise are said to help improve ED issues.

How can Shockwave help to restore sexual function in diabetics?

Focused Shockwave Therapy is an exciting alternative treatment in which a trained therapist applies a painless sound waves (shock wave)  to the exterior of the penis. Shockwave therapy triggers the tissue in the penis to release the growth factors that cause penile tissue to grow new blood vessels. These vessels increase blood flow within the penis making it possible for men to achieve harder erections that last longer.

Your ED might be caused by diabetes, or a combination of factors, why not contact ED Clinics to see if we can help you.

Interested or wish to know more? Get in touch with your nearest clinic.