Diabetes and the Male Libido: How Diabetes Can Impact Sex for Men
Diabetes can impact the sex life of both men and women. In this post, we’ll focus on how diabetes can impact sexual desire and function in men.
Let’s not pull any punches. Sexual dysfunction is a pretty difficult subject to broach for most people. However, individuals with diabetes, particularly the Type 2 form of the disease, are more prone to sexual issues than people without the disease. If you’re experiencing problems in the bedroom, you certainly can’t fix the situation by ignoring it.
So, we’re not. In this post we’re going to examine how diabetes can impact sexual health and function in males. Look for posts on female sexual health coming soon.
Blood Sugar and Male Sexuality
Someone living with diabetes is unable to properly process glucose (blood sugar) from the bloodstream and turn it into energy the body needs to function properly. Without treatment, blood sugar builds up in the body and can lead to a number of serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.
In men, prolonged high blood sugar can also lead to a number of short-term and long-term concerns when it comes to sexual health, including a shrinking libido, if not an entirely stalled sex drive.
Low Testosterone & Diabetes
Testosterone is the hormone produced by the testicles that is necessary for normal sexual and reproductive function. Males with Type 2 diabetes are far more likely to develop low testosterone, which can dramatically impact sexual desire and health. Why?
For starters, high blood sugar itself can inhibit the production of testosterone and lower a man’s libido. But there’s more to it than just poorly managed diabetes. In general, people who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes tend to be overweight. In fact, somewhere between 80% and 90% of all individuals diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.
All of this excess weight further diminishes the production of testosterone, so suddenly that shrinking libido is compounded by being overweight. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), males who have Type 2 diabetes and are also overweight are twice as likely to suffer from low testosterone as males without diabetes.
What Can You Do?
First off, make sure your blood sugar is well controlled with proper testing and treatment. If you are having problems maintaining target blood sugar levels using a glucose meter and test strips, ask your doctor about switching to a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, which have been shown to provide added blood sugar control. Also, if you’re carrying too much weight, ask your doctor about what you can do to safely lose it. In many cases, once blood sugar is brought under control and excess weight is lost, testosterone levels elevate once again, which means that libido comes back. In other cases, testosterone therapy might be warranted.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is a condition in which it becomes difficult for a man to achieve or maintain an erection. It’s a more common problem than you might think and impacts the sex lives of many men who don’t have diabetes. That being said, men with diabetes are about twice as likely to face erectile dysfunction as those without diabetes.
What role does diabetes play? In many cases erectile dysfunction can be rooted in psychological issues. However, when the cause is physical, men with diabetes often face some of the prime culprits.
They include obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol, all of which can contribute to the risk of erectile dysfunction. Additionally, the prolonged high blood sugar related to these conditions can also lead to nerve damage and blood circulation issues due to clogged or damaged blood vessels. When blood flow to the penis is reduced, it can lead to problems achieving and maintaining an erection.
What Can You Do?
The good news is keeping blood sugar under control, dieting and exercising to lose weight, and taking steps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol can all help prevent erectile dysfunction. If you are already experiencing ED, doing these things may or may not remedy the situation, but one thing is certain – taking care of yourself will help you feel better and live a healthier life.
Because ED is so common, there are plenty of medical treatments out there, including drugs like Viagra and Cialis, which improve blood flow to the penis. Additionally, there are injectable medications, penile implants, and other solutions.
Of course, no solution should be explored without first speaking with your physician. Remember, never add, or remove medication from your diabetes treatment plan without first discussing things with your doctor.
An Inability to Orgasm
For some men, diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) or a lack of blood flow to the penis can diminish physical sensation so dramatically that it becomes difficult to achieve orgasm. Additionally, some medications used to address diabetes complications, such as antidepressants, can make it harder to climax. If you have difficulty reaching an orgasm, the first thing you need to do is see your doctor.
Men with diabetes who experience frequent or prolonged high blood sugar levels may also experience damage to the muscles that open and close the bladder. At the moment of male orgasm, these muscles normally prevent semen from entering the bladder. Retrograde ejaculation occurs when these muscles are not working correctly, allowing some of the semen to flow back into the bladder instead of being expelled.
Retrograde ejaculation can be diagnosed with a simple urine sample taken after ejaculation. Better yet, in most cases it can be effectively treated with medication.
Men with diabetes certainly aren’t alone in facing sexual health concerns. However, because men with diabetes often also live with blood sugar control challenges and diabetes-related complications that contribute to problems with arousal and sexual function, the risk is significantly higher.
Healthy sex is a wonderful part of life. So, if you are experiencing any diabetes-related sexual issues, see your doctor. It’s unlikely the problem will go away on its own, and in many cases the solution is a pretty simple one. The first step to knowing for sure, is talking to your physician.
We hope you found this post informative and helpful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to keeping the diabetes community informed with the latest news, tips, and updates impacting our community. We’re also proud to help you control your blood sugar and manage your diabetes with a complete selection of testing and treatment supplies at prices up to 65% less than those found at most pharmacies and suppliers.
Visit us online to shop for continuous glucose monitoring devices (CGM), glucose meters, test strips, lancets, insulin syringes, pen needles, infusion sets and patch systems, as well as all your other diabetic accessories.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.