There are several advantages to having a healthy sex life: It helps relieve anxiety, keeps you physically fit, lowers stress hormones, & strengthens the bond between partners. While most healthy grown-ups incorporate sex into their routines, individuals with chronic illnesses tend to face more hurdles. This is specifically true for those with type 2 diabetes. Let’s examine what diabetes is, the relationship between the condition & sexual health, and ways to improve diabetic sexual side effects in men.
How Diabetes Can Affect Sexual Function?
Diabetes can have a tremendous influence on a man’s sex life. High blood sugar levels can damage nerves & blood vessels that are required for satisfactory sexual function. It can also raise the risk for other health problems that affect sexuality. The biggest relationship between diabetes & sexual health happens due to a mix of the following factors:
- emotional health concerns: With diabetes, it’s possible to experience great emotional distress. Managing a chronic illness constantly can leave individuals feeling fatigued or even self-conscious. A person wearing a physical insulin pump may be less pleased to show their body to others, and many people may lose sexual interest altogether. This is exacerbated if suffering from diabetes distress;
- hormonal changes: Diabetes can induce a shift in the hormone balance in both females & men. It can result in fluctuating testosterone & estrogen levels, which in turn influence a person’s libido & other sexual function components;
- decreased blood flow: Due to the correlation between diabetes & heart health, those living with diabetes experience decreased blood flow accompanied by inadequate circulation. This can influence the amount of blood that reaches the penis or vagina, thus contributing to erectile dysfunction (ED) & vaginal dryness;
- medication negative effects: Insulin & several other meds taken by individuals with diabetes to combat high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, etc., can have an impact on sexual function;
- nerve damage: Chronic high blood sugar levels are thought to lead to nerve damage. This is why diabetic neuropathy is common among those with the condition. Sexual organs are supplied with sensitive nerves, and when these are impaired, they can lessen sensation & cause sexual dysfunction. Properly controlling glucose levels on an ongoing basis is fundamental since diabetic neuropathy can’t be reversed.
Improperly controlled diabetes together with unhealthy lifestyle practices can induce female & male sexual health problems.
Sexual Health Issues Specific to Men
Male sexual dysfunction can comprise a wide variety of difficulties. These problems may indeed interrupt or hinder sexual activity or simply prevent an individual from wanting or enjoying sex. The condition can affect individuals of all ages, but the likelihood of experiencing sexual difficulties increases with age. Here are the most common sexuality activity problems in men with diabetes.
Erectile dysfunction (or ED), the incapability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sex, is typical in men with type 2 diabetes. It can stem from the impairment of nerves & blood vessels induced by insufficient long-term blood sugar control. ED can also be associated with other problems common in men with diabetes, e.g., hypertension & heart disease. Besides, ED might appear earlier in diabetics than in men without the condition. Trouble maintaining an erection might even precede the diabetes diagnosis.
Testosterone is a hormone required for normal reproductive function. Type 2 diabetes can affect testosterone level, which can additionally contribute to ED & feelings of fatigue or depression. Diabetics are more likely to suffer from low-T than healthy males.
Low Sex Drive
There is a link between diabetes and low testosterone levels, which can result in a low sex drive. On top of this, other issues periodically induced by diabetes, such as trouble getting an erection, can influence male’s libido. If you lose interest in sex for no obvious reason, and it’s a concern for you and/or your partner, you might have a low sex drive.
Although very rare, diabetes can be the cause of retrograde ejaculation (RE). It happens when male’s semen enters his bladder rather than emerging via the penis during the climax of sexual pleasure. Poor blood sugar control over a long-term course leads to neurogenic bladder. RE can occur in diabetic males as a consequence of diabetic autonomic neuropathy (or nerve damage).
How to Improve the Quality of Sex Life in Men with Diabetes?
If you’re concerned about your sexual health, consider consulting a physician. Below are some tips on how to improve your sex life if you have diabetes.
Opt for healthy, nutrient-dense meals. Stop smoking, maintain a healthy weight, and do exercise to aid you in stabilizing blood sugar levels & making diabetes therapy more manageable. Also, it’s advisable to limit or cut out alcohol so as not to aggravate the condition.
This is a form of counseling aimed at helping individuals & couples resolve sexual problems. It could be performance anxiety or relationship concerns. Often, a physician or therapist starts with questions about health & sexual background, beliefs about sex, sex education, & the patient’s specific sexual concerns.
Vacuum Erection Device
Also dubbed a penis/vacuum pump, it’s a hollow plastic tube that’s put over the penis, forming a low-pressure vacuum that induces an erection. Besides, an elastic ring is slipped onto the base of the penis to hold adequate blood in & maintain the fully erect penis when sexually stimulated.
If meds or a penis pump doesn’t work, a penile implant might be a great alternative. A semirigid or inflatable device is considered a safe & efficacious option for many men with ED.
ED meds include Viagra (with sildenafil as its active component), Cialis (tadalafil), Levitra or Staxyn (vardenafil), and Stendra (avanafil). These FDA-approved meds increase blood flow to the penis, making it easy to get & keep a strong penile erection during intercourse. Check with your physician to determine whether one of these meds is a safe choice for you.
Viagra is the most used ED med, and it goes beyond treating the sexual disorder; it also helps various athletes like cyclists and runners improve their performance. However, beware if you intend to use it for this purpose, as Viagra on drug test may be detected, particularly if it’s among the targeted compounds.
This has been an in-depth overview of diabetes and sexual dysfunction in males, plus how this condition causes ED. Diabetes management is unquestionably essential to living a long and healthy life. If you’re pre-diabetic, talk to your physician about guidance to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes. If you’re diabetic and have ED, drugs such as Viagra can help beat the condition and lead a healthy sex life.