Erectile dysfunction is a common complication in men with diabetes – but it is not inevitable. The inability to attain and maintain an erection sufficient enough to have sex is termed as erectile dysfunction. Prolonged uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to nerve damage and this is typically the cause of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes. It can also be related to other complications such as high blood pressure and heart disease. It might occur earlier in men with diabetes as compared to men without diabetes.
This can be challenging and leave you frustrated from time to time but do not worry. Let’s understand why it happens and how you can take steps to regain your virility. Our Diabetes Care Expert, Sampada Kulkarni, shares steps to cope with erectile dysfunction which will help get your sex life back on track.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction is related to circulation and the nervous system. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels can lead to damage of nerves and small blood vessels. A man’s ability to acquire an erection firm enough to have sexual intercourse can be hindered if the nerves that control sexual stimulation and response is damaged. High blood pressure is one of the primary causes of ED. It damages the artery by making them thicker. It causes reduced blood flow to the penis which may cause erectile dysfunction.
Don’t let erectile dysfunction get worse
Making some changes in your lifestyle choices can be useful. You shouldn’t underestimate the difference minor changes can make. Give these tactics a try to improve erectile dysfunction and your overall health.
Don’t keep away, voice it: Don’t be shy. The first thing you need to do is stop avoiding it. Talk to your doctor. He can help you pinpoint the problem and guide you. Your doctor will examine the underlying causes of erectile dysfunction and also provide you with more information about erectile dysfunction treatments and medication – if required. Find out your options!
Ask your doctor if you’re taking the right steps to manage your diabetes. It’s not uncommon to have other chronic conditions that can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Make sure you’re addressing any other health problems.
Get moving: You may not always feel like pushing yourself to exercise but the benefits of a mere 30-minutes of active time are tremendous. A sedentary lifestyle can make the symptoms of erectile dysfunction worse. Regular exercise helps blood flow throughout the body, including the genital area.
Lose extra weight if required: Being overweight may cause or worsen existing erectile dysfunction. Hence, achieving a healthy body weight is important.
Learn about your medicines: This might be another reason to talk to your doctor. You may unknowingly be taking a medication that causes sexual side effects. Some antidepressants or even anti-blood pressure medications can cause ED as a side-effect. Get an idea of the possible side-effects of the drugs that you are taking from your doctor.
Stop smoking: Tobacco use, including smoking, leads to or worsen erectile dysfunction by narrowing your blood vessels and restricting the blood flow. Quitting smoking can improve ED symptoms.
Limit your alcohol intake: Excess alcohol can also be a reason for erectile dysfunction. It dilates the blood vessels in the body. This, in turn, affects the flow of blood in and out of the penis. It also dampens the mood to indulge in sexual activity.
Try cutting down or limiting your alcohol intake. Remember, if you choose to drink, do so in moderation. Ideal alcohol intake for women is 1 drink per day and 2 drinks per day for men. This amount is defined for any particular day when alcohol is consumed and not for everyday consumption.
Follow these hacks while drinking alcohol
Maintain a healthy diet: Eating diabetes-friendly food will keep your blood sugar levels in check which also helps lessen the amount of damage to your blood vessels and nerves. It improves your energy levels and mood, both of which can help reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.
Effectively manage stress: Both physiological stress (injury or illness) and psychological stress (fear of performance or loss of loved ones) can cause temporary or permanent erectile dysfunction depending on the severity of the stress. The best way to deal with it is to talk to closed ones or to seek medical help whenever required.