Before we delve into the link between sexual dysfunction and diabetes in men, let us first understand what diabetes is and what causes diabetes. From children to the elderly people, diabetes has become a very common condition.
What is diabetes?
A condition in people with high blood glucose/sugar levels is called diabetes. Once in a while, elevation of sugar levels can be attributed to the food or drink consumed sometime ago but if the high sugar levels are consistent, then the person is said to be suffering from diabetes.
What causes diabetes?
There are two reasons what causes diabetes:
- When the body is not able to produce enough insulin, it becomes difficult for the body to absorb the glucose from the blood. As a result, the glucose remains in the blood. As you your next meal, more glucose is added.
- Or when body becomes less sensitive to use the insulin that is present in the blood.
Diabetes is classified into two types – Type 1 diabetes which only 10% of the people have and the other is Type 2 diabetes, which 90% of the people have. Type 2 diabetes is also called ‘insulin resistance’ diabetes. When the pancreas inside the body doesn’t function well, low amounts of insulin is produced. This does not let all the sugar in the blood to be absorbed by other organs to function. As no energy is given to other parts of the body, the person may feel dull and fatigued.
What are the effects/consequences of diabetes on the body parts?
- Not enough energy is supplied to other organs as said, this causes fatigue.
- The blood vessels and nerves get hardened and damaged due to high sugar levels. This results in loss of sensation and less blood supply to the body parts.
- When the person with diabetes gets injured, they may not even know that they are hurt (due to loss of sensitivity) and healing also will take a longer time. (due to low blood flow). Good amount of blood flow is necessary to supply more oxygen to the injured area to heal faster. In some people, who are hurt in the foot may have to get their foot amputated when the wounds don’t heal.
- Risk of brain stoke, loss of consciousness (when the sugar levels are very high), thirst, sweet smelling breath (don’t be proud if this happens to you), risk of heart diseases (cardiovascular diseases) and infections go up significantly.
- Coming to the important topic – Diabetes can also cause sexual dysfunction in men, especially causing erectile dysfunction.
Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction – What is the connection?
In diabetic people, the sensation communicating nerves and the blood supplying vessels get damaged. When the penis area is stimulated, due to improper communication to the brain, it becomes difficult to get and/or maintain an erection to perform penetrative sex. Also, due to the damaged blood vessels will not be able to fill the penis with enough blood to achieve an erection. A study has shown that men diagnosed with diabetes are likely to see erectile dysfunction in less than 10 years from the time of diagnosis.
How to keep diabetes under control?
- Eat less carbs, multiple times in a day. Instead of 3 heavy meals, have small portions many times. This way, you will add less sugar to your blood at any time.
- Workout, don’t become a potato couch. This increases insulin sensitivity of your body.
- Drink lots of water. Water will flush out excess sugar from your body.
- Substitute white rice with basmati rice, wild rice or brown rice, millets or bajra. They have less glycemic index. Foods with high glycemic index can also alter the sugar levels in blood.
- Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for diabetes. Always maintain optimum weight.
- Consume foods with more fiber. Include lot of proteins, vegetables and fruits in your diet.
Once you start getting your blood sugar levels under control, you can see that you will slowly overcome erectile dysfunction problem. If you are still suffering from erection problems, even though your sugar levels are under control, you must see a good sexologist near you.
Little changes to your lifestyle and food habits with a little workout every day can take you a long way on the road to good health.