Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction (ED) are two separate conditions however they tend to go hand in hand. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, men with diabetes are two or three times more likely to develop ED which means, they will have problems with achieving and maintaining an erection.
The poorly controlled blood sugar levels that are associated with diabetes can damage small blood vessels and nerves. Since the blood vessels in the penis are tiny, the muscles start to atrophy and are replaced by scar tissue or collagen rather than smooth muscle. Damage to the nerves that control sexual stimulation and response can impede a man’s ability to achieve and maintain a firm erection. Reduced blood flow from these damaged blood vessels also contribute to ED.
There are several risk factors that contribute to diabetes and erectile dysfunction:
- Uncontrolled blood sugar
- Poor diet
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Uncontrolled hypertension
To reduce the risk of diabetes and erectile dysfunction, it’s important to make a few lifestyle changes.
Control your blood sugar: If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes, this should be your first priority. Lessening the amount of sugar in your diet will help control the damage level on your blood vessels and nerves. A proper diet geared at keeping your glucose levels in check will improve your energy levels and mood which also control ED.
Cut back on alcohol: Having more than two drinks a day can damage your blood vessels and worsen your ED symptoms. Being even mildly intoxicated can also make it harder to achieve an erection and may interfere with sexual function.
Stop smoking: Along with several health issues related to smoking, it also narrows your blood vessels and decreases the level of nitric oxide which decreases blood flow to the penis, which in turn worsens your ED.
Get going: And by that we mean, get active and get some exercise. Adding regular exercise to your routine can help you control your blood glucose levels, improve circulation, lower stress levels and improve your energy levels – all of which help combat ED.
Get some zzz’s: Fatigue is often to blame for sexual problems. Get some sleep and ensure you get about 6-8 hours each night to help lower your risk of ED.
Keep the stress level down: Stress interferes with sexual arousal and your ability to get an erection. Set aside time to exercise, meditate, and do the things you love to maintain your stress levels and keep it at bay.
The connection between ED and diabetes is undeniable, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept this outcome. Taking steps to control your diabetes and reduce erectile dysfunction will improve your quality of life.