Erectile dysfunction is a common problem for men who have diabetes — but it’s not inevitable. Consider prevention strategies, treatment options and more. Erectile dysfunction — the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sex — is common in men who have diabetes, especially those with type 2 diabetes. It can stem from damage to nerves and blood vessels caused by poor long-term blood sugar control. Erectile dysfunction can also be linked to other conditions common in men with diabetes, such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Erectile dysfunction might occur earlier in men with diabetes than in men without the disease. Difficulty maintaining an erection might even precede the diabetes diagnosis. Having erectile dysfunction can be a real challenge. It can leave you and your partner feeling frustrated and discouraged. Take steps to cope with erectile dysfunction — and get your sex life back on track.
Consider your treatment options
A number of erectile dysfunction treatments are available. Ask your doctor if one of these may be a good choice for you:
– Oral medications. Erectile dysfunction medications include sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis, Adcirca), vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn) or avanafil (Stendra). These pills can help ease blood flow to your penis, making it easier to get and keep an erection. Check with your doctor to see whether one of these medications is a safe choice for you.
– Vacuum-constriction device. This device, also called a penis pump or a vacuum pump, is a hollow tube you put over your penis. It uses a pump to draw blood into your penis to create an erection.
– Penile implants. In cases where medications or a penis pump won’t work, a surgical penis implant might be an option. Semi Rigid or inflatable penile implants are a safe and effective option for many men with erectile dysfunction.
Make good lifestyle choices
Don’t underestimate the difference a few changes can make. Try these approaches to improve erectile dysfunction and your overall health:
– Stop smoking. Tobacco use, including smoking, narrows your blood vessels, which can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction. Smoking can also decrease levels of the chemical nitric oxide, which signals your body to allow blood flow to your penis.
– Lose excess pounds. Being overweight can cause — or worsen — erectile dysfunction.
– Include physical activity in your daily routine. Exercise can help with underlying conditions that play a part in erectile dysfunction in a number of ways, including reducing stress, helping you lose weight and increasing blood flow.
– Limit or cut out alcohol. Excess alcohol can contribute to erectile dysfunction. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.