Tags: Diabetes | Diabetes | erectile | dysfunction

Is Diabetes Destroying Your Sex Life?

Is Diabetes Destroying Your Sex Life?
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By    |   Wednesday, 20 September 2017 03:14 PM

You already know diabetes can cause heart problems, organ damage, and other physical ailments. But new research shows it may also cause problems in the bedroom far earlier than is typical for most men.

“Men with diabetes can experience erectile dysfunction (ED) when they are in their 40s, which is 20 years earlier than it happens in the population of men without the disease,” Dr. Hunter Wessells tells Newsmax Health.

“This represents a 20-year acceleration of the aging process.”

Wessells, professor of urology and department chair at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, adds that what makes this more difficult is that sexual dysfunction is often a hidden problem, one that many patients – and their doctors – prefer not to discuss.

“As people with diabetes are living longer – and avoiding more feared problems, like blindness, and amputation – this can affect issues like sexual functioning, which has a real impact on quality of life,” Wessells adds.

It’s estimated that 29 million Americans are living with diabetes, and about 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that impairs the body’s ability to produce or properly use insulin, the hormone that transforms food into energy.

As a result, glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood.

One of the main complications of diabetes is nerve damage, or neuropathy, which can cause a loss of feeling throughout the body, and also affect the bladder and the genital organs as well, says Wessells.

Another complication of diabetes is damage to the blood vessels, which can affect the flow of blood not only to organs like the heart and kidneys, but also to the penis.

Nerve damage and a lack of blood flow can directly affect a man’s ability to achieve – or sustain – an erection.

“Diabetes damages the nerves, as well as impacts the blood vessels that enable blood to flow to the penis, so that’s a double hit,” says Wessells.

But it isn’t only men; diabetes affects the female sexual response, as well, says Wessells.

“In men, the focus is on erectile dysfunction, but in women, diabetes can affect the sexual response more globally, including desire, arousal and orgasm,” he explains.

But treatments are available, and, the earlier medical intervention is started, the greater likelihood of success, he says.

According to Wessells, men have several primary options:

  • ED drugs, such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra. “These tend to be less successful in men who have diabetes, but they do sometimes work,” Wessells says.
  • Medications that are injected directly into the penis.
  • Penile implants, which are surgically implanted, and may involve rods or a pump.

Fewer options are available for women, says Wessells, who notes that a drug called Addyi is the only Food and Drug Administration-approved medication to increase female sexual desire.

But the focus on medication should not obscure the importance of lifestyle changes that can also help, because what benefits diabetes control may also translate into better sexual functioning, he says.

This includes:

  • Quitting tobacco use, which damages blood vessels
  • Reducing blood glucose levels through diet or medications, such as metformin
  • Losing weight
  • Regular exercise

Above all, people with diabetes who are concerned about their sexual functioning need to talk to their doctor,” he says.

“If you come in early, we may be able to treat the problem earlier, prevent further deterioration, or even reverse it,” Wessells says.

© 2020 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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People with diabetes can experience complications that interfere with their sex life, but there are solutions. The earlier treatment is initiated, the better chance of success, a top expert says.
Diabetes, erectile, dysfunction
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 03:14 PM
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