Diabetes and Impotence

Diabetes impotence has been described as the “perfect storm” for damaging men’s sexual health because many small physiological changes which – when they occur alone may not cause problems - when they all occur together cause serious erectile difficulties.

It is been estimated that about 35-75% of men with diabetes will experience at least some degree of impotence during their lifetime, and impotence will occur 10 to 15 years earlier than in men who do not have diabetes.
 

Causes of Diabetes Impotence

The key cause behind diabetes-caused impotence relates to bloodflow to the penis.  Erections depend on healthy blood flow.

Getting an adequate supply of blood into the penis requires healthy blood vessels and healthy nerves so that when the brain signals sexual desire the nerves respond and blood flow occurs.

Diabetes damages both blood vessels and nerve endings, directly affecting the level of erectile response. This Increased risk of impotence and diabetes is often associated with the pre-diabetic health condition of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

So even if your sex drive is strong, your erections will not be sufficient to complete sex. 
 

Diabetes Impotence and Low Testosterone

However the sad fact is that many men with Type 2 diabetes will also find they experience low sex drive because they are also more likely than non-diabetic men to have low testosterone levels.

Several Australian studies have shown that men with Type 2 diabetes are also likely to suffer from low testosterone.

Work by researchers at the University of Melbourne showed low testosterone was a third more likely in men with Type 2 diabetes; and a study at the University of Adelaide showed the loss of testosterone in diabetic men was different from the normal aging process.  
 

Reducing Risk of Diabetes Impotence

There are a number of lifestyle changes that can reduce the likelihood of diabetes impotence.
 
These include:
  • Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise (30 mins of walking three to four times a week)
  • Ensuring you get good sleep (disturbed sleep increases risk of both low testosterone and diabetes)
  • Quitting smoking
  • Reducing stress

 

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