Erectile Dysfunction: A Concern for Men With Diabetes
It is common for men to experience periodic erectile dysfunction (ED) In many, it can be a cause of embarrassment and concern. But for some men with diabetes , ED is a fact of daily life. The cause can be related to diabetic neuropathy , a nerve disorder that can disrupt the neural pathways responsible for creating and sustaining an erection. There can be are other reason causing ED in men with diabetes. ED may also be accompanied by impotence. Though they are related, they are not the same thing.
You've Got NervesIf you have diabetes, complications can make sexual activity difficult. One of these, diabetic neuropathy , derails the brain signals that would normally speed along the nerves from the spinal cord to the erectile tissue of the penis. These nerve messages normally release nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes arteries in the penis, which allows increased blood flow and makes erection possible. Neuropathy disrupts the "erection messages" that are sent from the penis to the brain—for example, during physical stimulation of the penis. In other words, there is a communication breakdown, and that means no sex. Diabetic neuropathy can occur at any time, although the chances of it developing rise the longer you have diabetes. The risk of diabetic neuropathy increases in men who are over 40 years old, who smoke, or have a cardiovascular condition. It is also more common in men who are overweight .