Understanding the Link Between Sexual Dysfunction and Type 2 Diabetes

It is estimated that between 35% and 75% of men with type 2 diabetes experience some sort of erectile dysfunction (ED) during their lifetime. This occurs because blood sugar levels are too high, which impedes the normal arousal process. Experts say that ED is common in men with diabetes; in fact, they are 3.5 times more likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction than men without the disease.

“We know that hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels, can impact both the small and large blood vessels,” Dr. Chris Kyle, a member of the Oregon Urological Society and Giddy, a company that specializes in erectile dysfunction, tells Newsmax. “This, in turn, can affect blood flow to the penis. Damage to the tiny vessels can also impact the nerve which is related to sexual response.”

Kyle adds that studies have shown that adopting healthy lifestyle changes may improve blood sugar levels and consequently improve sexual function. These include weight loss, smoking cessation, and increasing physical exercise.

“Taking control of your blood sugar can also improve ED,” he says.

According to the British newspaper Express, a study from the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins University found that one particular type of sugar was the culprit in causing ED. But Diabetes UK assured that “having diabetes doesn’t mean you will automatically have a problem. But having diabetes does increase your risk of sexual dysfunction. It’s one of the complications of diabetes and happens because of high blood sugar levels, as well as high blood pressure and cholesterol.”

Men can take medication to alleviate this problem such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), or vardenafil (Levitra). Experts caution that these drugs may interfere with certain heart medications, so it’s best to talk with your doctor to find the most appropriate treatment.

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