Is Viagra Safe and Effective For Diabetics?

Many men with type 1 and type 2 diabetes take Viagra for erectile dysfunction (ED).

Deciding if taking an oral ED medication like Viagra is safe for you depends on your current health condition and medication regimen.

Despite a lot of success, about half of men with diabetes who take oral drugs for ED end up disappointed. There are several reasons why oral ED therapy fails, however, and men shouldn't automatically blame their diabetes for lackluster results.

Reasons Why Oral ED Drugs May Fail

ED medications such as Viagra help men get and sustain an erection by increasing blood flow to the penis but they do not initiate an erection. If a man is not in the mood for sex or there is not enough mental or genital stimulation to create arousal, nothing much will happen.

Even if libido is sizzling, ED medication’s effectiveness may depend on what was eaten for dinner. Eating a meal high in fat before or in conjunction with taking an oral ED med can render the drug useless. Having a lot of fat rumbling through the gastrointestinal tract decreases absorption of the medication as well.

Even after eating a low-fat meal, psychological issues can defeat the effects of Viagra. Guilt or shame around sexual intimacy or anxiety related to sexual performance can interfere with signals sent to and from your genital area. These interfering issues usually need to be discussed with your partner and maybe a mental health professional to be resolved.

Even if the mind and emotions are clear for takeoff, some men still get poor results because they do not read or follow directions. The ED medication must be taken in the required amount of time prior to intercourse. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol should be avoided as well.

The side-effects of medications such as Viagra for some individuals are so uncomfortable that they overshadow the drug’s benefit. Side effects include nasal congestion, headache, temporary vision problems and facial flushing.

Do Not Give Up On Viagra Too Soon

Men usually need to use their ED medication several times before achieving a successful outcome.

Should the medication still be ineffective after, say, four attempts, the dose may need adjusting. Some physicians prescribe an initial higher dose and lower it if side-effects are an issue. Other doctors start with a low dose and continue to increase it until the right dose is reached.

Your doctor may also test your blood for low testosterone and if necessary, prescribe testosterone therapy to supplement (or replace) the ED medication. Another combination therapy that might be recommended is using Viagra with alprostadil (synthetic prostaglandin E1).

The important thing is not to assume your erectile dysfunction is hopeless because you have diabetes. Like many things in life, success with oral ED medications is a process.

Source: Diabetes Self Management
Photo credit: Nick Page / flickr creative commons

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