How taking control of diabetes can revitalize your sex life

Created by: Christina Sonnenberg, RDN, IFNCP, posted on 05/31/23

How does unmanaged Diabetes negatively affect sex life

Dr Ashley Winter MD, an urologist, shares on her Twitter account that the most prevalent underlying factor contributing to severe erectile dysfunction among young men is diabetes coupled with chronically poor glycemic control. Surprisingly, these individuals often express their lack of awareness regarding the potential impact of elevated blood sugar levels on their sexual well-being.

When it comes to diabetes and sexual function, various factors come into play. The microvascular disease can affect erections, while neuropathy can influence arousal, sensation, and even ejaculatory capabilities. However, maintaining proper glycemic control can serve as a preventive measure against these complications.

It’s important to note that these effects are typically observed in individuals who have been living with diabetes for over five years, rather than at the initial diagnosis. Although the damage is often irreversible or minimally reversible, taking proactive steps can make a significant difference in preserving sexual well-being.

Erectile Dysfunction and Diabetes: Prevalence, Causes, and Onset

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is more common than you may think and is a complication of uncontrolled Diabetes. ED is defined as the difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection during sexual activity >75% of the time. Studies of ED suggest that its prevalence in men with Diabetes ranges from 35–75% versus 26% in the general population. The onset of ED also occurs 10–15 years earlier in men with diabetes than it does in sex-matched counterparts without diabetes.

A sexually competent male must have a series of events occur and multiple mechanisms intact for normal erectile function. He must:

  1. Have desire for his sexual partner (libido)
  2. Be able to divert blood from the iliac artery into the corpora cavernosae to achieve penile tumescence and rigidity (erection) adequate for penetration
  3. Discharge sperm and prostatic/seminal fluid through his urethra (ejaculation) 
  4. Experience a sense of pleasure (orgasm)

A man is considered to have ED if he cannot achieve or sustain an erection of sufficient rigidity for sexual intercourse. Most men, at one time or another during their life, experience periodic or isolated sexual failures. However, the term “impotent” is reserved for those men who experience erectile failure during attempted intercourse more than 75% of the time.

However, men with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing ED due to the damage to blood vessels and nerves that occurs with this condition.

Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to various complications, including ED.

Understanding the Link between Type 2 Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction Factors

The exact mechanisms underlying the link between type 2 diabetes and ED are not fully understood. However, several factors are thought to contribute to the development of ED in men with type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Damage to blood vessels: High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels that supply blood to the penis, reducing blood flow and making it difficult to achieve or maintain an erection.
  • Nerve damage: Diabetes can also damage the nerves that control the blood vessels and muscles involved in getting an erection. This can lead to a loss of sensation and reduced ability to get or maintain an erection.
  • Hormonal imbalances: Diabetes can affect the production of hormones such as testosterone, which is essential for normal sexual function.
  • Psychological factors: The stress and anxiety of living with a chronic condition like diabetes can also contribute to ED.

Managing Erectile Dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetes: Treatment Challenges & Options

Treating ED in men with type 2 diabetes can be challenging, as it often requires a multifaceted approach. Lifestyle changes, such as weight loss, regular exercise, and a healthy diet, can help to improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications such as ED. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can also be beneficial.

Medical treatments for ED may include oral medications such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis), and vardenafil (Levitra). These drugs work by increasing blood flow to the penis, helping to achieve and maintain an erection. However, these medications may not be suitable for all men with type 2 diabetes, especially those with underlying cardiovascular problems.

Other treatment options for ED in men with type 2 diabetes may include vacuum devices, penile injections, or penile implants. Counseling or therapy may also be beneficial for addressing psychological factors that may be contributing to ED.

Reduce risk with lifestyle changes: healthy diet, regular exercise, more sleep and less stress 

In conclusion, type 2 diabetes and ED are two conditions that often occur together, and the link between them is well established. Men with type 2 diabetes should be aware of the increased risk of ED and take steps to reduce their risk, such as maintaining good blood sugar control and adopting a healthy lifestyle. If ED does occur, a range of medical and psychological treatments are available that can help to improve sexual function and quality of life.

How Foodom can help you improve your lifestyle with Diabetes-friendly meals

Foodom’s meal prep service offers a transformative solution for men looking to improve their lifestyles and effectively manage their blood sugar levels. With the help of local professional chefs, individuals can enjoy delicious and nutritious meals tailored specifically to their dietary needs. By focusing on wholesome ingredients and balanced nutrition, we are here to help individuals with diabetes maintain optimal blood sugar control.

The convenience of chef-cooked meals at your home, starting from $5 a portion, takes away the stress of meal planning and preparation, allowing diabetics to prioritize their health and well-being. With Foodom, diabetics can control the portion sizes carefully and macronutrient ratios are optimized to support stable blood sugar levels. By incorporating these healthy eating habits into their routine, diabetics can experience positive changes in their lifestyle, energy levels, and overall health. They can achieve BMI and A1c reduction, to manage and even reverse their type 2 diabetes. 

Foodom’s meal prep service empowers diabetics to take control of their dietary choices, leading to improved well-being and a better quality of life. Check out our diabetes-friendly menu options.


The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider or medical care team regarding any medical condition or concerns you may have. They are the best resource for personalized guidance and can provide you with the most appropriate recommendations based on your individual circumstances. Do not disregard or delay seeking medical advice based on the information presented in this blog post. Reliance on any information provided in this blog post is solely at your own risk.

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