Type 2 diabetes warning: High blood sugar levels can cause this sexual problem

TYPE 2 diabetes means a person’s pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels. Overtime, unchecked blood sugar levels can pose a number serious health complications such as heart disease and strokes. It may come as a surprise that the chronic condition can also lead to a certain sexual health problem. What is it and what can be done to treat it?

The most common type of sexual problem in men is erectile dysfunction


Having high blood sugar levels for a prolonged period of time can cause sexual dysfunction.

As Diabetes UK explained: “Having high sugar levels for a period of time can damage your blood vessels and nerves, including the ones that supply your penis.

“This can restrict the amount of blood flowing to your sexual organs, so you can lose some sensation.

“This could mean you have difficulty getting aroused, both physically and in how you feel.”

According to the charity, the most common type of sexual problem in men is erectile dysfunction (sometimes known as impotence).

This is when a person can’t get or keep an erection – an early red flag could be if they start to lose their morning erection.

The health body cited several reasons for this, such as limited blood flow, nerve damage (neuropathy) and damaged blood vessels. A person’s medication or mood at the time may also play a role.

According to Diabetes.co.uk, other factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Taking too little exercise and other lifestyle factors.

Surgery can damage nerves and arteries linked to the penis, as can some injuries, noted the health body.

How to treat it

Men who have diabetes and are having trouble achieving or maintaining an erection can take oral medicine, said Diabetes.co.uk.

The NHS can provide the following medications on prescription for men with diabetes:

Brand names include:

  • Viagra
  • Cialis
  • Levitra

“However, these medicines can all affect the heart rate, and detailed consultation with your doctor is necessary to determine the best course of action,” cautioned the charity.

Additional treatments include:

  • Intracavernous injection therapy
  • Vacuum constriction devices
  • Intraurethral therapy
  • Sex therapy

Psychotherapy can also prove an effective treatment for erectile dysfunction.

“Further treatment such as surgery and vacuum devices may also have a role to play in some specific cases,” said the health body.

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