Most males experience at least one episode of being unable to achieve an erection when desired. In extreme cases, they may be unable ever to have or sustain an erection. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem amongst men who have diabetes affecting 35-75 percent of male diabetics. Up to 75 percent of men suffering from diabetes will experience some degree of erectile dysfunction (erection problems) over the course of their lifetime. What is the link between ED and diabetes type 2?
Why it occurs?
When men become sexually aroused, hormones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels all work with one another to create an erection.
Nerve signals, sent from the brain to the penis, stimulate muscles to relax.
This, in turn, allows blood to flow to the tissue in the penis.
Once the blood fills the penis and an erection is achieved, the blood vessels to the penis close off so that the erection is maintained.
Following sexual arousal, the blood vessels to the penis open up again, allowing the blood to leave.
However, in men with type 2 diabetes, this process is not fully completed due to the abnormalities of blood sugar present.
A study from the Brady Urological Institute at John Hopkins analysed how an oversupply of blood sugar could be a major cause of erectile dysfunction in diabetic men.
Researchers have found that one particular simple sugar, present in increased levels in diabetics, interferes with the chain of events needed to achieve and maintain erection and can lead to permanent penile impairment over time.
Previous studies have also shown that diabetic erectile dysfunction was partially due to an interruption in an enzyme which starts the chain of vascular events finally leading to an erection.
Studies show that men with diabetes often have reduced testosterone levels, which can affect their sex drive.
However, the main sexual health problem affecting men with diabetes is an inability to achieve or maintain an erection, known as erectile dysfunction.
For a man to achieve an erection, there must be significant blood flow to the penis. However, diabetes damages the blood vessels, which can affect blood flow to the penis.
Diabetes can also lead to nerve damage and make it more difficult for him to maintain an erection.
In many cases, yes, erectile dysfunction can be reversed.
In fact, one study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found a remission rate of 29 percent after five years.
It is important to note that even when ED cannot be cured, the right treatment can reduce or eliminate symptoms, said Medical News Today.
The health site added: “ED is usually treatable with medication or surgery.
“However, a person may be able to treat the underlying cause and reverse symptoms with no medication.
“The best treatment may depend on the person.”