You might not think diabetes and erectile dysfunction (ED) go together but one definitely plays a role in bringing on the other. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, men with diabetes are two to three times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction. In many cases, problems with achieving or maintaining an erection is an early clue that you may be diabetic, particularly in men 45 and under.
The poorly controlled blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage small blood vessels and nerves. Damage to the nerves that control sexual stimulation and response can impede a man’s ability to achieve an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse.
There are several risk factors that increase your chances of complications from diabetes, including ED. Uncontrolled blood sugar, obesity, poor diet, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and uncontrolled hypertension are just a few examples. Luckily, most of these risk factors are things that can be controlled by a lifestyle change.
In order to help control your diabetes and reduce your risk of ED, follow these simple steps:
- Control your blood sugar through diet.
Eating a diabetes-friendly diet will help you to control blood sugar levels and lessen the amount of damage to your blood vessels and nerves.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption.
More than two drinks per day can damage your blood vessels and worsen ED.
- Stop smoking.
Along with all of the other health reasons that you hear about, smoking narrows the blood vessels and also decreases levels of nitric oxide which decreases blood flow to the penis, worsening erectile dysfunction.
- Get active.
Adding regular exercise to your routine can help you to not only control your blood glucose levels, but it can also improve circulation, lower stress levels, and improve your energy levels—all of which help combat ED.
It may not be easy to bring up your issues with ED to your doctor, but reluctance to do so will only prevent you from getting the help that you need. Here at Urology Specialists, all of our providers are familiar with ED and understand the impact it has on your life, your relationships, and your self-esteem. If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction, don’t suffer in silence. There are numerous treatment options for ED and our physicians are able to help.