What is the Connection Between Diabetes and Impotence?

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  • Written By: Dulce Corazon
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2018
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Patients with diabetes can develop several complications if the disease is not controlled. These complications usually include problems in the kidneys, heart, reproductive organs, and nerves. An example of a reproductive organ disorder commonly encountered in men with uncontrolled diabetes is erectile dysfunction, or impotence. Impotence is defined as man's inability to get or sustain an erection for sexual intercourse. This connection between diabetes and impotence may occur in more than 50% of diabetic men.

Long-term and uncontrolled diabetes can result in nerve damage. Nerves in the legs, eyes, and reproductive organs are commonly affected. This is usually what happens in men with diabetes and impotence. As soon as a man gets sexually excited, the brain sends nerve signals for the release of nitric oxide from the blood vessels.

Nitric oxide is a substance that causes the muscles and arteries of the penis to relax and allow blood to enter the area. The result of blood rushing inside the penis is often an erection. Failure of these nerves to function may frequently cause erectile dysfunction.


Other factors that contribute to an association between diabetes and impotence are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels, and stress and anxiety. High blood pressure together with diabetes has been implicated in blood vessel damage. Cholesterol deposited in the blood vessels often results in their narrowing, thus there is often a decrease in blood flow to the area. Anxiety and stress brought about by diabetes and impotence can further affect desire for sex.

Fortunately, there are medications for diabetes and impotence can also be reversed. There is still no known cure for diabetes, but there are medicines that can help control the blood sugar of patients. Together with medications, diabetes in men is also managed with the right diet, frequent exercise, and regular blood sugar monitoring. Once diabetes is under control, the impotence also frequently disappears.

In order to prevent diabetes and impotence, health experts encourage men to follow a healthy lifestyle. This is especially advised for men with a family history of diabetes, and those who are already in the pre-diabetes state. A pre-diabetes state is when the blood sugar is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.



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