Some men with diabetes have impotence, also called erectile dysfunction or ED. ED is when a man can no longer have or keep an erection.
What Causes ED?
Over time, blood vessels and nerves in the penis can become damaged. ED can also be caused by other conditions, such as prostate or bladder surgery. Certain medicines, such as some pills for high blood pressure or depression, may cause ED. Pills for stomach ulcers or heartburn may also cause it. Ask your health care provider if ED is a side effect of any of your medicines. There may be other pills you can take. Remember, talk with your health care provider or diabetes educator before trying any treatment for ED or before stopping any of your medicines.
Lifestyle choices that contribute to heart disease and vascular problems also increase the chances of ED. Smoking, being overweight, and being inactive can contribute to ED. Experts believe that psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, low self-esteem, and fear of sexual failure cause 10 to 20 percent of ED cases.
Talk About It!
It's not easy to accept that you have ED. And it can be even harder to talk about it. Talking about ED is the only way to learn about treatments and get the help you need. It's normal to feel embarrassed discussing such an intimate and personal issue, but your health care provider is a professional who is there to help you, not judge you.
- Explain to your health care provider the symptoms you have been experiencing
- Tell your health care provider your concerns and ask him if it could be ED or another sexual disorder
- Inform your health care provider of any other emotional or physical changes you have experienced
- Review with your health care provider any medications you may be taking which may be causing these symptoms
- Ask your health care provider about treatment options and which he recommends to fit your needs
ED Treatment Options include:
- Taking prescription pills
- Putting medicine called prostaglandins into your penis
- Using a vacuum tube and pump to draw blood into the penis
- Surgery to put a device in the penis or to fix blood vessels so more blood will flow to the penis
You may be interested in our book, Sex and Diabetes: For Him and For Her.
Last Reviewed: June 7, 2013
Last Edited: July 15, 2013
Check out our FREE program for tips on living with type 2.
Help us raise $1 million for diabetes research and other essential programs.
New tools for meal preparation made easy!
Bee Well for Life gives fitness tips and helps Stop Diabetes!
Great recipes tap the salad bar, deli, and freezer case to get food on the table.
Learn to make delicious vegetarian dishes with this easy-to-follow cookbook.
Celebrate the holidays with Diabetes Forecast! Best deal–order today!
Food is an important part of the African American culture. See our recipes.
Stay on track with our holiday meal planning tips. Recipes everyone will enjoy!
Was your child recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? Order this free kit.
This personal tracking program is key to diabetes management.
Watch our Stop Diabetes PSA and share with your friends and family.
Recipes for Healthy Living, a holiday survival guide & more!
Get helpful tips for stress-free traveling with diabetes.
Check out our parent mentor volunteer program full of parents just like you!