How Diabetes leads to Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem for diabetic men. As a matter of fact,  men living with diabetes are four times likely to develop ED than those without diabetes. Also, diabetic men tend to develop ED ten to fifteen years earlier and also have more severe cases.
Erectile dysfunction as a result of diabetes is as a result of the following:
  • Neuropathy,
  • Atherosclerosis,
  • Endothelial dysfunction,
  • Venous leak, or
  • Low testosterone
Neuropathy: is a nerve disorder. Usually, when a man is sexually aroused, there is a message that is sent through his nervous system that triggers an erection. But for a man with neuropathy in his penis, this transmission gets disrupted and the penis does not respond in the usual way.
Experts are yet to know why neuropathy occurs in diabetics, however, some believe that the abnormal proteins formed by high blood sugar cause the nerve damage. High blood sugar could also interfere with message transmission.
Atherosclerosis is a hardening or thickening of the arteries. The usual process is that when a man is sexually aroused and has an erection, his penis fills with blood. Arteries are a critical part of this process, as they expand in response to sexual arousal and allow blood to fill in. Veins, on the other hand, constrict to keep the blood in the penis until the man ejaculates. Then, the blood flows back into the body.
Atherosclerosis makes it difficult for blood to enter the penis. Depending on how severe the condition is, the blood flow may be insufficient for an erection firm enough for sex.
Endothelial dysfunction: the endothelium is the tissue that lines the blood vessels, including those in the penis. High blood sugar can damage this tissue, making it more difficult for blood to flow in and form an erection. High blood sugar can also interfere with nitric oxide production, nitric oxide is an important compound for erections. The insufficient nitric oxide can contribute to endothelial dysfunction.
Venous leak: occurs in the situation where the veins are not able to keep enough blood in the penis for a suitable erection. As stated earlier, a firm erection is as a result of blood flow into the penis. Vein normally constrict to keep the blood inside until the man ejaculates. A venous leak prevents blood from staying in the penis, instead blood leaks back into the body and the erection fails to stay rigid.
A venous leak is usually caused by problems with smooth muscle tissue, which needs to relax for a good erection to occur. Studies have shown that many diabetic men have less smooth muscle content and that this tissue does not always relax properly.
Low testosterone: this is a common problem for diabetic men. Testosterone is a sex hormone that affects a man’s sex drive. Testosterone deficiency can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Men with diabetes and ED are encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise more, keep blood sugar under control and quit smoking.
Being committed to a healthy lifestyle can help erections in other ways too. For example, staying fit can improve a man’s mental health, body image and self-esteem, resulting in greater sexual self-confidence and possibly better erections.
Are you experiencing ED despite you putting your blood sugar under control?
Mr Ola




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