Male sexual dysfunction is a physical or psychological sexual related problem that prevents a man from getting sexual satisfaction. Many men will experience sexual dysfunction problems, in the form of premature ejaculation, a loss of sex drive and erectile dysfunction (impotence). Erectile dysfunction or ED is a man’s inability to achieve an erection suitable for sexual penetration. Premature ejaculation is when a man ejaculates too soon during sexual intercourse. There are a number of factors that can cause sexual dysfunction in a man. They include:

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Drugs
  • Medication
  • Alcohol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where the body’s pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin or is unable to use its own insulin sufficiently. As a result the amount of glucose in the blood is too high. If left untreated, diabetes can cause severe health complications such as kidney failure, heart disease, vision impairment, amputations and even premature death.

diabetic glucose levels

Diagram – Diabetic glucose levels

Diabetes can come in two forms, Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes, with the latter being the more common of the two. There are 3.9 million people in the UK who have diabetes. It is estimated that about 35% to 75% of men with diabetes will experience some form of sexual dysfunction, years earlier than men who do not have the condition. This risk increases, as they get older, statistics showing that by that age of 70, a man with diabetes is over 90% likely to experience erectile dysfunction problems.

What Causes Sexual Dysfunction In Diabetics?

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves and arteries in the penis. This disrupts the blood flow to the penis, which is needed to maintain and sustain an erection.

Erectile dysfunction
Diagram – Diabetes mellitus and erectile dysfunction

Men with diabetes are also usually linked to other health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease, all conditions linked to erectile dysfunction.

Sexual Dysfunction In Women

Although diabetes related sexual dysfunction is usually associated with men, it can in fact also affect women. Nerve damage caused by diabetes, can cause a number of symptoms associated with female sexual dysfunction (FSD), such as vaginal dryness, lack of arousal, difficulties in achieving an orgasm, and pain during sex. Although research is ongoing in this area, it has been found that women with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction symptoms, than non-diabetic women.

How To Treat Sexual Dysfunction In Diabetics

Diabetics experiencing sexual dysfunction should speak to a health professional. A doctor will be able to seek out the underlying causes of your sexual dysfunction, and advise you on the best line of treatment for your erectile dysfunction. There are a number of options for treating sexual dysfunction problems. Medications to improve sexual function, hormone therapy, mechanical devices and therapy have all proven to be effective treatments.

Managing your diabetes effectively, by monitoring your blood sugar levels will also prevent any disruption being caused to the nerve and blood vessels – which can cause erectile dysfunction. Most men with diabetes usually have other health conditions, which can make their sexual dysfunction issue worse. If you think you may need treatment for another chronic condition such as high blood pressure or heart disease, which is contributing to your sexual dysfunction, it is advised that you speak to a doctor. Likewise, medication you may be taking, used to treat other health conditions usually linked to diabetes, could also worsen your erectile problems.

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