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Can diabetes cause erectile dysfunction (ED)?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Diabetes causes nerve and blood vessel damage all over the body that interferes with transmission of signals related to arousal and sexual function, as well as blood flow to the penis for an erection. For this reason, men who have diabetes can experience erectile dysfunction (ED) 10 to 15 years sooner than other men. Research shows that ED may even be an early sign of diabetes, especially for men younger than age 45.

Some men with diabetes have impotence, also called erectile dysfunction or ED. Erectile dysfunction is when a man can no longer have or keep an erection. Lifestyle choices that contribute to heart disease and vascular problems also increase the chances of ED. Smoking, being overweight and being inactive can contribute to ED. Experts believe that psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, low self-esteem and fear of sexual failure cause 10 to 20 percent of ED cases.

Europathy and cardiovascular disease, blood vessel damage and nerve disease are all culprits of ED. ED caused by physical problems usually comes on slowly and worsens over time. Early symptoms include a less rigid penis during sexual stimulation and when you wake up. Over time, men with ED may not be able to sustain firm erections long enough to enjoy sexual intercourse.

Learn about the relationship between diabetes and erectile dysfunction.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.