Metabolic Health

How Can Diabetic Overcome Erectile Dysfunction

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Managing Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetes

What is Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to maintain an erection firm enough for penetration during sex. It is prevalent among men who have had diabetes. Various factors could lead to erectile dysfunction, diabetes being one of them. Erectile dysfunction is related to insufficient flow of blood to the penis. An erection occurs due to an increased blood flow which causes the blood vessels to swell up, resulting in a firm penis. When men have diabetes, high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves, which reduces blood flow.

Causes and Symptoms of Erectile Dysfunction

Diabetes is a condition in which more sugar (in the form of glucose) is present in the bloodstream. This is damaging for the smaller veins and capillaries and could also lead to kidney damage, vision loss, and nerve pain in severe cases. The blood vessels in the penis are primarily composed of small veins and arteries. A large quantity of sugar in the bloodstream makes it difficult for men to sustain an erection. Men who have a preexisting condition of high blood pressure and diabetes have an increased chance of suffering erectile dysfunction. Erectile Dysfunction can also be an indicator of low testosterone levels, which is one of the symptoms of diabetes. Men who have diabetes may have anxiety, depression, or stress. This leads to sleeplessness and loss of morning erections, common in healthy males. Medication in general and medication for diabetes may lead to erectile dysfunction. Medicines for diabetes lowers blood pressure, making it difficult to get an erection for sustained periods.  

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How are Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction Related?

Though erectile dysfunction and diabetes are separate conditions, there is a connection between the two. In the context of an erectile dysfunction, there is an interference between the circulatory system and nervous system. In diabetes, there are higher than normal blood sugar levels. This damages nerves and blood vessels such as arteries, veins, and capillaries. Damage to the nerves responsible for sexual stimulation and reaction impedes a man’s ability to get an erection that is firm enough for sexual intercourse. Another reason for erectile dysfunction is reduced blood flow to the penis. The damage in the blood vessels results in lesser blood flow, thus making it difficult to get a firm erection. The only way to effectively treat both these conditions is by making lifestyle changes, following a balanced diet plan, staying physically active, and seeking counseling and therapy when necessary. 

Risk Factor of Erectile Dysfunction

There are several risk factors involved in erectile dysfunction due to diabetes. Men are at a higher risk of having erectile dysfunction if they have poorly monitored blood sugar levels, stress, anxiety, or depression. Other factors contributing to worsening the condition are not consuming a balanced and healthy diet, being physically inactive, having poorly managed weight, consumption of excessive alcohol, uncontrolled hypertension, abnormal blood lipid profile. Consuming medicines that have erectile dysfunction as one of their side effects, or drugs that treat blood pressure, depression, or pain are also detrimental. 

How can a Diabetic Overcome Erectile Dysfunction

Men can make several lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of getting diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. It is essential to quit smoking. Consume lesser carbohydrates and fats during meals. Stay physically active and exercise to reduce weight. It is important to not stress over the fact of having diabetes or erectile dysfunction. Make lifestyle changes that help prevent erectile dysfunction due to diabetes. Consistently following that lifestyle is the key. 

Lose Excess Pounds

It is important to start managing weight immediately. Obesity can be reduced by being physically active and consuming a balanced diet. Weight loss can happen when there is a calorie deficit. Physical workout also burns excess fat and calories in the body. Consume a balanced diet that has more proteins and lean fat. Reduce the intake of carbohydrate-rich foods and fatty foods. Increase the consumption of roughage and fiber. This helps improve the function of the digestive system. Consume foods that increase metabolic rate. Drink enough water every day. 

Seek Counselling

Men suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, or other issues are strongly advised to seek counseling. Therapy will help men cope with the issue and work towards improvement areas and make the necessary lifestyle changes. Without counseling, the problem can become worse.

Stay Physically Active

Physical activity is a great way to stay healthy and reduce blood sugar levels. It also helps to prevent weight issues such as obesity. Activities such as light workouts, stretches, brisk walking, etc., must be a part of the daily routine to ensure physical activeness.  Immediate weight loss may not be as effective as long-term lifestyle changes that help maintain weight and blood sugar levels naturally. 

Limit or Cut out Alcohol

Intake of alcohol must be stopped immediately. It adds to the damage in the blood vessels due to diabetes. It also contributes to erectile dysfunction. Mild intoxication also makes it hard to achieve an erection. 


Erectile dysfunction is the inability to maintain an erection firm enough for penetration during sex. It is prevalent among men who have had diabetes. In diabetes, there are higher than normal blood sugar levels, which damage the nerves responsible for sexual stimulation. Erectile dysfunction due to diabetes is a common issue that can be prevented and treated with simple lifestyle changes that have long-term positive effects. Therapy also goes a long way in helping men cope with the problem 

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