Dr Sanjay Agrawal
Leading Pharmaceutical Consultant and Editor-in Chief of IJMToday
Diabetes has become the most common lifestyle disorder in today’s world. However, it doesn’t only limit itself to increasing your blood sugar levels and restricting you from satisfying your sweet tooth, but it can also rob you of the sexual satisfaction that you seek in your life.
Yes, diabetes is closely related to one of the male sexual problems, i.e. erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is a sexual dysfunction which means inability to get and maintain an erection firm enough for a coitus to happen and it happens due to various reasons with diabetes being one of them. The cause behind erectile dysfunction can be identified in most of the cases. Some of them are: cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, neurological problems such as following prostatectomy, hypogonadism, and drug side effects. Sometimes, this happens due to psychological reasons as well. In such cases some medical professionals opt for placebo treatment as the best option.
Men who have Diabetes are three times more likely to have Erectile Dysfunction than men who do not have Diabetes. The blood vessels or even nerves are affected due to the damage from diabetes which eventually results into this disorder. However, diabetes is not the sole cause of erectile dysfunction. It can also be linked to other medical conditions like hypertension and cardiac diseases/disorders. Also, erectile dysfunction is not necessarily a consequence of diabetes; it can be a precedent to diabetes as well.
Now it is very obvious that a disturbed sex life can leave you hopeless and depressed, especially at the thought of not being able to sexually satisfy your significant other. But where there’s a problem, we can always find a solution for the same. Here too, a lot of solutions are possible.
- Professional advice:
Seek help from a doctor. Talk to him, tell him about your problem and try to find the root of the ailment. Taking medications without any guidance won’t be even a little helpful. Explain your entire medical history, mental and physical condition to your doctor at detail so that he gains a clear idea of what has gone wrong. If the reason turns out to be diabetes, then ask the doctor what you can do to reduce the effect of diabetes on your sex life. Controlling your blood sugar levels might help to reverse or correct or at least minimise the nerve and blood vessel damage due to diabetes.
- Find the real culprit:
Seek a good diagnosis from your doctor. Sometimes people suffering from diabetes are also suffering from diseases or disorders which contribute to the worsening of your erectile dysfunction. Hence, make sure you don’t miss out on any other physical or mental problem before declaring diabetes as the real culprit.
- Keep an eye on your medicines:
Check your medicines and their content. Sometimes, the medication you take for other diseases might be creating erectile problems for you. For example, drugs used to treat hypertension may cause erectile dysfunction as a side effect. Changing your medications might help a bit.
- Take care of your mental health:
This is a downward spiral! Yes. Stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health problems worsen your erectile disorders and that makes you even more stressful and worried. Seek help from a psychiatrist, therapist, counsellor, or a psychologist to learn about ways to cope with this.
- Start an actual treatment:
You can choose from a number of treatments available. It can be oral medication, it can be injections or other medications, it can be penile implants or other devices. Oral medicines are available largely in the market and a lot of doctors suggest battery of medicines like- sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil or avanafil. These medicines can help the blood flow increase in your penis and hence maintain the erection. However, if you don’t find oral pills as a good option you can use suppositories that you can insert through the tip of your penis right before having sex. You can also use injections given on the side or at the base of the penis.
Vacuum pumps, also known as penis pump are another way to try out if you want to avoid medication totally. These pumps are put on the penis and they draw blood to create an erection. Now as enough blood is drawn in, a band placed at the base of the penis helps maintaining the erection for a long while. Such devices are either hand operated or battery operated. A doctor might prescribe you to use a specific model or Penile implants also make a good option for erectile problems. In case medications and vacuum pumps don’t work out, you can go for a semirigid or inflatable penile implant. They are a safe and effective option for someone going through erectile dysfunction.
- Watch your lifestyle:
A number of problems we face today are mere outcome of the unorganized, unhealthy lifestyle that we have adopted. Lifestyle disorders have been a thing since long now and erectile dysfunction has not being spared from the effects of a bad lifestyle.
Addictions: Smoking kills. Not only you but your sex drive and your capability too. Yes, smoking and alcoholism have a huge effect on your sex lives. Use of tobacco in any form contributes to the narrowing of your blood vessels which can lead to or can worsen your already existent erectile dysfunction. Smoking, specifically, reduces the levels of a chemical messenger called nitric oxide which signals your body to allow blood flow in the penis. Whereas alcohol, harms in a million other ways. Even if you choose to drink regularly, maintain some limits in doing so.
- Your body weight might be a problem too:
Excess weight contributes excessively to occurrence and worsening of erectile problems and sadly, obesity is catching hold of the society since a couple of years now. Exercise and healthy eating can help you maintain a healthy weight in order to avoid ruining your sexual life just because of your weight. Exercise reduces stress levels, weight, and facilities a better blood flow.
A very important yet the most avoided part of our lives is our food/diet. Bringing home takeaways or ordering food from restaurants has increased to an alarming level now. Preparing our own meals and preparing or ordering healthy meals is not even a point most of us think of considering. Erectile dysfunction is all about vascular system. A healthy vascular system means lesser risks of erectile dysfunction. A proper diet reduces your risk of common vascular problems caused by high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, and being overweight. You need to avoid certain foods and embrace some other in order to maintain a proper diet. If you are into drugs or any kind of substance abuse, consider rehab at the earliest and the fastest. Research has shown that certain antioxidant compounds named flavonoids can help you improve cardiovascular health. You can also choose some food items that help you maintain your cardiovascular health. As we know that anything that can be cured with a diet shouldn’t be handed to medicines. Eat healthy, stay healthy.
ED has been a devil to the mankind since time immemorial. A disturbed sex life leaves you frustrated and stressed leading to a worse mental health. It is necessary to acknowledge your problem, its reasons and find a feasible solution to it. Every year, millions of men are opting for various treatment options, may it be medications or surgical implants, to bring back the sex life and sexual drive they have been lacking in due to their health. So if you are facing similar issues, try finding a doctor who might help you gain awareness and provide you with a suitable treatment.