An estimated 415 million people worldwide live with diabetes—that’s about one in 11 people. Nearly 46 percent of diabetes cases go undiagnosed, and several more live with prediabetes without even knowing it.
Type 2 diabetes is preventable through healthy lifestyle habits, yet the number of cases continues to grow annually.
There are many complications associated with diabetes including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, skin conditions, hearing impairments, and Alzheimer’s disease.
There is one complication that primarily affects men, yet many men don’t even realize that their diabetes is impacting their health in this way.
That complication is sexual dysfunction. When diabetes is not well controlled, it can contribute to sexual dysfunction. For a man to develop an erection, many areas of the body are involved. The brain becomes aroused, signals are sent throughout the body, and blood flow is increased. When diabetes isn’t well managed, those signals being sent from the brain may never get to their destination. Furthermore, lack of blood flow can prevent a hard erection.
Over time, high blood sugar can lead to artery and nerve damage, which are two important areas for sexual function. Some believe that taking insulin or diabetic medication leads to further sexual dysfunction, but this is false. Proper treatment and a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of sexual dysfunction resulting from uncontrolled diabetes.
Another complication that can arise in diabetic men is something known as retrograde ejaculation. Normally, when a man ejaculates, semen is released through the penis. In cases of retrograde ejaculation, semen travels backwards to the bladder. Although sex is still pleasurable, men looking to become fathers need to have this condition reconciled.
The best way to prevent complications related to sex as a result of high blood sugar is to control your blood sugar. This can be done through losing weight, regular exercise, a healthy diet, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and taking prescribed medications.
Other helpful tips to prevent sexual dysfunction include moderating your alcohol intake, reducing stress, not smoking, and having open communication with your partner about your needs and desires.
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