Can Diabetes Cause Infertility and Erectile Dysfunction in Men?

For many men, infertility and other sexual problems can come hand-in-hand with diabetes.

For this reason, it is important to be aware of changes in your body when you have been diagnosed or are at risk of having diabetes.

Diabetes and Infertility

The National Institutes of Health declare that men who have diabetes are two to three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than those who do not struggle with this condition. Erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes occurs because diabetes affects the small blood vessels and lowers testosterone levels.

Additionally, men with diabetes can occasionally exhibit problems with ejaculation. This problem is due to the fact that small nerves that control ejaculation are affected by diabetes, and also because of low levels of testosterone. Although many men encounter changes in sexual function as they age, men with diabetes may start to experience problems at a young age.

Problems with sexual function can also appear at a young age with more severity due to small blood vessel and nerve damage caused by poor diabetes management. Often, erectile dysfunction in men younger than 45 is seen as a sign of diabetes or an indication of a higher risk of developing diabetes in the future.

Looking for the Cause

One of the causes of erectile dysfunction is damage to nerves and small blood vessels. Over time, excess blood glucose can injure the walls of tiny blood vessels that nourish nerves. Medications for blood pressure and depression can also cause erectile dysfunction.

Other factors that cause erectile dysfunction are alcohol abuse, smoking, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and psychological or emotional problems. Furthermore, recent studies have shown a strong relation between sexual dysfunction, low testosterone, abdominal obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Some men may also experience difficulty with ejaculation, a problem referred to as retrograde ejaculation. This condition causes men to discharge less semen than normal. This may occur due to a condition where semen enters the bladder instead of exiting the penis as it should. This problem is caused by the improper functioning of the internal sphincter muscles responsible for opening and closing bodily passages. The problem can originate from nerve damage related to diabetes. Although the condition is not dangerous, it can cause infertility.

Prevention

Thankfully, many of these symptoms can be corrected through proper diabetes management and medication. Keeping blood sugar levels under control, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising are essential to minimizing the risks of erectile dysfunction. Moreover, there are medications that can help to restore erections.

Other methods that restore erections are vacuum pumps, penile injections, pellets and surgery. Note that surgery is usually used as a last resort. If fertility is the problem, an urologist with experience in fertility treatments may be able to help by obtaining semen from the urine to use for artificial insemination.

Lastly, finding counseling can be helpful to reduce stress. Don't be afraid to seek out emotional and psychological support. Remember to always talk to your doctor and to discuss problems such as erectile dysfunction so that together you can find the treatment that is best for you and your specific situation.

Sources: About.com

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