By Matthew A. Pierce, MD and Edmund Y. Ko, MD
Diabetes is a worldwide epidemic with significant impacts on multiple aspects of men’s health. 3.5 in every 1000 reproductive aged men (18-45 years old) in the United States are living with diabetes (1). While it is true that many Americans are aware of diabetes’ impact on cardiovascular, renal, ophthalmologic, and neurologic health, many do not know that it can also negatively impact fertility. This occurs through a number of ways including: erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, hypogonadism and semen abnormalities.
Diabetes is a well-known risk factor for developing erectile dysfunction. Diabetes affects the nerves and blood vessels throughout the body, including those that supply the penis. Damage to the nerves can cause decreased sensation and arousal, while the decreased blood flow to the penis can lead to difficulty achieving or maintaining erections firm enough for a satisfactory sexual encounter (2).
Solutions for men suffering from erectile dysfunction are wide and varied, and the first line treatments are oral medications called PDE 5 inhibitors (Cialis, Levitra, Stendra, Viagra). These medications help relax the smooth muscle in the penis, thereby increasing the blood flow and allowing for erections. [Read more…]