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What You Should Know About Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction

?Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a condition that has become increasingly common in men. It is the inability to maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.  There are many causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) which can be physical, psychological, or both. One of the most common causes of ED is diabetes. Diabetes can cause ED because it can damage the blood supply to the penis and the nerves that control an erection. Men with diabetes struggle with blood sugar level swings, especially if their condition isn’t managed poorly. When their blood sugar levels get too high, less nitric oxide is produced. This can mean that there is not enough blood flowing into the penis to get or keep an erection. Low levels of nitric oxide are often found in those with diabetes.

What Are the Causes Of Erectile Dysfunction?

Doctors thought psychological issues primarily caused erectile dysfunction. With better understanding of the disease, we now know that the causes of erectile dysfunction are often multifactorial. In some cases, erectile dysfunction is one of the first signs of an underlying medical problem. Common causes of erectile dysfunction include:

  • Heart disease

  • Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis)

  • High blood pressure

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Metabolic syndrome

What Are The Treatment Options And Can You Use These Medications When You Have Diabetes?

The management of erectile dysfunction requires expert diagnosis and treatment. A comprehensive approach begins with expert diagnosis to determine the precise cause of the problem and the treatment option that best suits our patients.  Diagnosis includes sexual function history, general medical history, psychosocial history, medication history, physical examination and appropriate laboratory testing. Treatment follows diagnosis. 

If you’re diagnosed with ED, your doctor will likely recommend an oral medication. These prescription medications help improve blood flow to the penis and are generally well-tolerated by most men. Having diabetes shouldn’t interfere with your ability to take one of these medications. They don’t interact negatively with diabetes drugs, such as Glucophage (metformin) or insulin. Although there are other ED treatments, such as pumps and penile implants, you may want to try an oral medication first. These other treatments typically aren’t as effective and may cause additional complications. Depending on the cause and severity of your erectile dysfunction and any underlying health conditions, you might have various treatment options. Your doctor can explain the risks and benefits of each treatment and will consider your preferences. The most common treatment is with oral tablets. These have been shown to work well in many men with diabetes, restoring sexual function. Certain drugs called PDE-5 inhibitors are used to treat ED. 

The commonly ED prescribed medications are:

  • Viagra 

  • Cialis 

  • Levitra 

  • Sildenafil Citrate 

  • Tadalafil 

  • Vardenafil

  • Avanafil

What Are The Side Effects When You Take Erectile Dysfunction Oral Medications?

Most men who take oral erectile dysfunction medications aren’t bothered by side effects regardless if you have Diabetes. When side effects do occur, they can include:

  • Flushing

  • Headache

  • Indigestion

  • Visual changes, such as blue tinge to vision, sensitivity to light or blurred vision

  • Stuffy or runny nose

  • Back pain

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that you will have for life, though both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be well-controlled through medications, proper diet, and exercise. Although ED can become a permanent condition, this typically isn’t the case for men who experience occasional erectile difficulties. If you have diabetes, you may still be able to overcome ED through a lifestyle that includes sufficient sleep, no smoking, and stress reduction. ED medications are usually well-tolerated, and can be used for many years to help overcome any ED problems.

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