If you or your partner have diabetes you are far from being alone, as tens of millions of Americans suffer from this disease as well. It is not just a problem that is unique to the United States either, as it is a growing problem worldwide. Diabetes affects many aspects of our health, but can it affect our sex lives as well?
Many people, men in particular, do not realize how large of an impact diabetes can have on their sex lives. Diabetes is believed to be one of the major causes behind having erectile dysfunction, those with the disease being as much as four times as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction also. There is an obvious clear link between the two issues, however how are they related?
To understand why this is, we have to first understand what diabetes is, and what it does to our bodies. Diabetes affects how our body is able to regulate the sugar in our blood, mainly involving the hormone insulin.
Insulin is something that is secreted by the pancreas, which is used by the body to process glucose, the form of energy our body uses from the consumption of sugar. People who have type 2 diabetes, the more common of the two, have an issue with the effectiveness of the insulin.
The insulin isn’t able to pull enough sugar out of the blood, which causes the blood sugar levels to remain too high, causing all sorts of problems.
What Does High Blood Sugar Have to Do with Erectile Dysfunction?
The problem with high blood sugar in relation to erectile dysfunction has to do with what sugar does to our body. Although sugar is a very useful tool in our body’s ability to quickly generate energy, like anything else too much of it is bad.
Too much sugar in our blood over the course of time acts as an abrasive, doing damage to the interior walls of our blood vessels and cells. This continued damage over the course of time can be so severe that the blood vessels stop being functional, in that they can no longer properly deliver blood to our tissues.
If this damage happens to certain blood vessels within the penis, it can potentially cause erectile dysfunction. The damage can be so severe that the body cannot repair it on its own, which then requires surgery to remedy. This is obviously something you want to avoid at all costs, as it can be both expensive and dangerous.
Besides the potential long term damage that high levels of sugar in the blood can cause, high blood sugar can cause problems in the short run as well. Having too much sugar in the blood has shown to negatively affect how well nitric oxide works, which is essential in maintaining an erection.
High blood sugar doesn’t just damage the blood vessels themselves, but the nerves that control how these blood vessels function as well. Our nerves control how our blood vessels open and close; and too much sugar in the blood can damage these nerves disrupting this process.
Damaged nerves from diabetes means that our body can’t send the signal through the nerves to our blood vessels to open them, which means we can’t get enough blood flow for an erection. On top of that the ability to maintain an erection is negatively affected as well, so even if you do get one it probably won’t be for long.
Is There Anything Else I Should Be Concerned About?
If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic keeping a tab on our blood glucose levels is important if you want to avoid erectile dysfunction down the road. People with diabetes are also at higher risk of developing atherosclerosis as well, further reducing the ability to get erections because of narrowed blood vessels.
You want to lower your risk for this disease as diabetes is an indication of other potential health problems as well. Make sure to be eating a balanced diet that is high in fiber, good fats and protein while being low in added sugar and processed foods to help avoid getting diabetes.
Supplementation can help as well, especially ones that contain things like ginseng, vitamin D, and cinnamon, all which will help you better maintain your blood sugar levels. These ingredients will help you to better metabolize glucose, and repair the damage already done to your system through a high sugar diet.