Men who keep their diabetes under control can lower their risk of diabetic impotence (erectile dysfunction). If you experience this condition, talking to your doctor is the first step in getting help. Quitting smoking can help reduce the risk as well. Treatments for diabetic impotence caused by nerve damage (also called neuropathy) include oral pills, a vacuum pump, and surgery.
What Is Diabetic Impotence?
As people grow older, they may experience troublesome changes in sexual function. This includes difficulty with erections, which is known as impotence, or erectile dysfunction.
- The total inability to have an erection
- The inability to sustain an erection
- The occasional inability to have or sustain an erection.
There are several possible causes of impotence, including:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Blood vessel disease
- Side effects of medications
- Psychological factors
- Hormonal deficiencies.
Having diabetes can mean early onset and increased severity of impotence. By keeping the condition under control, however, you can lower your risk of diabetic impotence.
When you want to take a step or lift your arm, your brain sends nerve signals to the appropriate muscles. Internal organs like the heart and bladder are also controlled by nerve signals, but you do not have the same kind of conscious control over them as you do over your arms and legs.
The nerves that control your internal organs are called autonomic nerves, and they signal your body to digest food and circulate blood without you thinking about it. Your body's response to sexual stimuli is also involuntary, governed by autonomic nerve signals that increase blood flow to the genitals and cause smooth muscle tissue to relax.
Damage to these autonomic nerves is what can hinder normal sexual function.