Diabetes and ED: Symptoms, Treatment – University of Utah Health Care

February 18th, 2020 5:51 pm

Feb 18, 2020 7:00 AM

More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. About seven million of those people dont know they have it. Symptoms of untreated diabetes include:

Believe it or not, erectile dysfunction (ED) can also be a symptom of diabetes. In fact, half of men diagnosed with diabetes experience ED within ten years of their diagnosis.

We see quite a few men for erectile dysfunction that end up being diagnosed with diabetes after their visit with us. Most people dont think about the penis being an indicator of other, underlying health issues, but it really is a good barometer.

In order to get an erection, men need healthy blood vessels and nerves. High blood sugar levels, a symptom of diabetes, can damage blood vessels as well as the nerves that control sexual stimulation. Because diabetes can cause the inner lining of blood vessels to function abnormally, it can affect blood flow to the penis, which is how you get and maintain an erection.

Managing your diabetes can stop the progression of ED, but sometimes symptoms dont improve because of nerve damage. There are many treatment options for ED if you dont see an improvement after getting your diabetes under control.

Oral medications typically work about 50 percent of the time for men with diabetes. Penile pumps are also good options, if medications dont work. Other men may choose injection therapy, which is a treatment where you inject the penis with a small needle when you want an erection.

Penile implants are another ED treatment. Implants last 1215 years on average.

All of these treatment options have pros and cons. Men should consider what works best for their lifestyles when chatting with their provider about the best choice for them.

Erectile dysfunction is frustrating and stressful for men and their partners. Its not something people should just live with, Dr. Hotaling said. If youre struggling with ED, talk to your health care provider. Sometimes its an unrelated problem. Other times, its linked to something more serious, like diabetes or heart disease. Regardless, its worth getting treated.

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Diabetes and ED: Symptoms, Treatment - University of Utah Health Care

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