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The Link Between ED and Diabetes

The Link Between ED and Diabetes

Diabetes can cast a surprisingly large net over your health and wellness. From vision loss to peripheral nerve damage, the complications that stem from diabetes are serious and life-changing. Included in this list is erectile dysfunction (ED), as men who have diabetes are three times more likely to develop ED.

To further explain the connection between diabetes and erectile dysfunction, Dr. Robert J. Cornell and our team pulled together the following information.

The road to an erection

A great way for us to explain the link between ED and diabetes is to first describe what goes into an erection. An erection starts with a stimulating thought or feeling that your brain registers. From there, your brain sends signals to your penis, causing it to relax the muscles of your corpora cavernosa. Once these muscles relax, blood flows in, and a series of valves traps the blood in this spongy tissue, which is what creates the erection.

So, an erection involves many different areas of your health, including your:

Given all the players, any malfunction or issue that affects one of these areas of your health can lead to ED.

How diabetes affects your body

Now that we understand all that goes into an erection, let’s look at how having diabetes can disrupt the process.

When you have diabetes, high levels of glucose in your bloodstream can damage your nerves and your blood vessels, which are two key players in your ability to have an erection. In fact, ED is often an early sign of issues like cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as blood isn’t flowing well enough to achieve and maintain an erection.

The nerve issues that come with diabetes — diabetic peripheral neuropathy — tend to involve certain nerve groups in your body, such as those in your lower limbs, eyes, and penis.

While your cardiovascular and nerve health are in the direct line of fire when you have diabetes, the disease can also lead to hormone imbalances — men with diabetes are twice as likely to have low testerone. As well, the disease can also affect your mental and emotional health. And each of these issues can contribute to ED.

So, of the more than 38 million Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes, a large percentage are men, and these men are at much higher risk of developing ED thanks to this chronic disease.

Next steps for your diabetes-related ED

If you have diabetes and you’re running into issues with ED, there are ways we can help. First and foremost, you should manage your diabetes as best you can with your primary health care provider.

From our standpoint, we can provide you with different options for addressing your ED, such as prescription medications, lifestyle changes, and penile implants.

For effective solutions for your ED, we invite you to come in for a thorough evaluation. To get started, contact our office in Houston, Texas, to schedule an appointment.


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