Erectile Dysfunction & Diabetes! Are They Connected? Know How

By Nikita Banerjee +2 more


Erectile dysfunction and diabetes are deeply connected.  Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the inability to get or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse. For some men, the problem is that they cannot get an erection, while for others, it is that the erection doesn’t last long enough. While there may be many reasons as to why someone has erectile dysfunction and men who have diabetes get this condition within ten years of diagnosis. The onset of erectile dysfunction is in men under the age of 45 years, usually. Those who have heart problems or high blood pressure problems may begin to experience erectile dysfunction much earlier.

Erectile Dysfunction due to diabetes

The Link Between Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

Erectile dysfunction is not an unavoidable part of ageing, but if someone has diabetes, it is a matter of time before they begin to experience this problem. While most men may have moderate erectile dysfunction, a minority have a more severe form.

Diabetes is a chronic disease of having elevated sugar levels. These high levels cause tissue and nerve damage in the body apart from having adverse effects on many organs. Even the small blood vessels feel the brunt of high sugar levels.

An erection happens when the blood flow to the penis is increased. This is because of the release of nitric oxide in the blood when the man is sexually aroused. The brain and the local nerve impulses cause the penile muscles to relax so more blood can fill them up, causing an expansion in the penis and creating an erection.

Diabetes causes damage to the nerves and the blood vessels to the penis and thus affects erection. Also, high glucose levels reduce the amount of nitric oxide that gets released into the blood.

Risk Factors for Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

Several factors increase the risks of suffering from erectile dysfunction if you have diabetes. They are:

  1. Poor Management of Blood Sugar

If the blood sugar levels keep fluctuating, the chances of nerve and blood vessel damage is more.

  1. Stress

Those who suffer from anxiety have more problems of erectile dysfunction than others who are less stressed.

  1. Depression

Men who suffer from depression have more sexual problems than others.


  1. Poor Diet

Our diet has a significant impact on our health. Those who have erectile dysfunction increase their problems when they eat a poor diet that lacks nutrients and fibre.

  1. Smoking

Diabetes is tough to manage, and those who smoke suffer earlier from erectile dysfunction. Read more on the health effects of smoking.

  1. Hypertension

Those who cannot control their hypertension suffer earlier, almost half a decade earlier than those who have diabetes but don’t have hypertension. In short, hypertension is a contributing factor that enhances the chances of erectile dysfunction and diabetes.

  1. Weight

Those who are obese suffer earlier from erectile dysfunction.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes

If you feel you are having problems, you should talk to your doctor about erectile dysfunction. Diagnosis is made with a physical examination to check for nerve problems in the testicles or the penis. A blood test may also be done. Either your doctor will prescribe the medicines, or he may refer you to someone specializing in sexual dysfunction. If you have diabetes but do not suffer from erectile dysfunction, you could talk to your doctor about the possibility of the issue in the future. Do inform your doctor of past allergies to medication, if any.

Treatment typically involves oral medication. These medicines increase the blood flow to the penis and the testicles. They do not react to diabetes medicines. There are other options like pumps and implants, but these are far less effective and with more complications than oral medication. Hormone and penile injection therapies are also employed in more difficult cases. However, always consult a doctor and never self-medicate.



Research has shown that adopting a good lifestyle helps in staving off erectile dysfunction. Just because one has diabetes doesn’t mean that it is the end of your sexual health. These lifestyle improvements help to deal with diabetes and lower the risk of having erectile dysfunction.

  1. Controlling Blood Sugar

Having a stable blood sugar level will help you prevent organ damage and damage to the nerves and blood vessels. You can stabilize blood glucose levels through a healthy diet. It will help improve your energy levels and mental health.

  1. Stop Smoking

Smoking constricts the blood vessels in the body and reduces the amount of nitric oxide produced in the blood. Quit the habit immediately to stop your erectile dysfunction from worsening. Read more about tips to quit smoking.

  1. Lose Weight

Even a small amount of weight loss will help you control your diabetes and, in turn, reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction. You will feel lighter, experience better moods and erections.

  1. Exercise

Getting active will help you to reduce your sugar levels, improve blood circulation to various organs and feel increased energy levels. It will help you lose weight and feel better about yourself. Read more about the health benefits of exercise.

  1. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Stress hampers sexual arousal and may be the reason why you have erectile dysfunction. Many activities like meditation, yoga, exercising, listening to music and others help in reducing stress levels. Find your niche and engage in the activities that you enjoy. If you feel you are feeling anxious or depressed, consult your doctor. Read more different types of relaxation exercises that help fight stress.

  1. Catch Up on Sleep

Fatigue is another reason that causes erectile dysfunction. Ensure that you get your seven hours of sleep. Resting and sleeping sufficiently helps to manage diabetes and reduces blood sugar levels.

  1. Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Regular consumption of alcohol leads to blood vessel damage and causes high sugar levels. Also, it has been proven that while liquor increases your craving for sex, it reduces the ability to have sexual arousal. Smoking also increases the desire for smoking, which causes more harm to the body.



If you are noticing problems in having an erection, talk to your doctor. It might seem like an awkward conversation, but not having it will create more complications. Erectile dysfunction and diabetes have no one treatment as one treatment do not fit all, so your doctor will chalk out a strategy that will take into account your diabetes, blood pressure, and other medications. Speak to a doctor before taking any medication, as certain medicines may have severe side effects. The only way to ward off erectile dysfunction is by staying healthy, stabilizing your blood sugar levels and quitting smoking.

Also Read: Male Yeast Infection: An In-depth Look at Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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