Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction: Understand the Link

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Written By Julie Ingram
diabetes and erectile dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a condition that affects 30 million people in the US.

ED is the inability of males to get or maintain a firm erection.

Several physical and psychological factors can cause ED. 

People with Diabetes wonder whether Diabetes can cause Erectile Dysfunction or not.

So, this article will analyze the link between Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction (ED).

Also, we will elaborate on the causes and treatments of ED if Diabetes causes it.

 link between Diabetes and Erectile DysfunctionSource: Gajus
link between Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction

Yes, there is a strong connection between Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction.

Diabetes, especially type 2 Diabetes, is one of the main causes of ED.

It damages blood vessels and nerves over a period of time. Thus, causing erection issues.

As per WebMD, 35% to 75% of males with Diabetes experience some degree of ED.

How Diabetes cause Erectile Dysfunction

Diabetes can cause Erectile Dysfunction in more than one way.

These include autonomic neuropathy, plaque building, weight gain, low testosterone, etc.

Autonomic neuropathy

It is a major contributor to Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetic patients. It is a condition where the nerve that controls automatic body functions gets damaged. 

Diabetes is the main cause of autonomic neuropathy.

It causes damage to the nerves that are necessary for inducing an erection.

Plaque Build up

Diabetes causes plaque to build up in arteries, known as Atherosclerosis, which restricts blood flow.

Thus, leading to difficulty in getting or maintaining a firm erection.

Weight gain

It is usual for people with Diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, to gain weight.

And being overweight makes you more vulnerable to Erectile Dysfunction.

Low testosterone levels

Diabetes (type II diabetes) can lower testosterone levels.

Testosterone is a male sex hormone that affects sexual desire.

People with low testosterone levels have low libido, which can cause ED.

Medication side effects

Diabetic males take various medicines to manage the condition.

Several anti-diabetic medicines, such as Metformin, may also contribute to ED. 

Recommended Read- ED Dangers: Drugs That Cause Erectile Dysfunction.

Erection is an interlinked play of nerves, blood vessels, and hormones. Disturbance in any of these factors can lead to Erectile Dysfunction.

Can Erectile Dysfunction caused by Diabetes be reversed

How can a man with Diabetes overcome Erectile Dysfunction?Source: Africa-images
How can a man with Diabetes overcome Erectile Dysfunction?

Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction go hand in hand.

In some cases, Erectile Dysfunction caused by Diabetes can be reversed.

It depends on many variables, including 

  • Duration of Diabetes
  • Severity of Diabetes
  • Degree of Erectile Dysfunction 
  • Health conditions

But reversing diabetes-related nerve and blood vessel damage is impossible. 

Only ED treatments and lifestyle modifications help improve ED symptoms in diabetic males.

How can a man with Diabetes overcome Erectile Dysfunction?

With the right treatment, over 95% of diabetic males can overcome ED. 

Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetes can never be a “one-size-fits-all” strategy.

This is because diabetic patients have other underlying health issues.

There are various alternatives to consider, including:


There are many medicinal options to treat ED caused by Diabetes.

These include oral ED pills, injections, penile pumps, and implants.

Here we discuss all the medicines in detail. 

Oral Erectile Dysfunction pills 

Pills like Viagra (Sildenafil), Cialis (Tadalafil), and Levita (Vardenafil) are the best ED medications for diabetes-induced Erectile Dysfunction.

They are safe to take in the diabetic condition and treat ED effectively. 

These oral ED pills start working within 30-60 minutes.

They improve blood flow to the penis. Thus, helping individuals to get or maintain a firm erection.

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  • Penile injections

    Penile injections directly inject the medication into the penis.

    Thus, helping to increase the penile blood flow. 

    Alprostadil is a common medication for penile injections. 

    It starts working within 5 to 20 minutes

    Vacuum pumps

    This vacuum pump has a tube that fits over the penis to create a vacuum.

    It helps to draw blood into the penis. Thus, making it easier to induce a firm erection. 

    It also consists of a constriction band that fits around the base of the penis. This helps to maintain an erection throughout the sexual activity. 

    But you should consider using pumps only if oral ED pills do not work for you.

    Penile implants 

    If oral pills, injections, or a penis pump won’t work, penis implants may be helpful.

    As per a study, penile implants are safe and effective for people with ED. 

    Recommended Read- Reviving Intimacy: Proven Erectile Dysfunction Treatments 

    Lifestyle choices

    Healthy lifestyle changes are some remedies for Erectile Dysfunction due to Diabetes.

    As per a study, good lifestyle choices can help improve ED symptoms. 

    These include quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, healthy diet, etc. 

    Stop smoking

    Smoking can constrict blood vessels. 

    This leads to less blood flow to the penis. Thus, causing difficulty in getting or maintaining a firm erection. 

    Also, smoking reduces Nitric Oxide in the body, which is necessary for erection. 

    Thus, quitting smoking can improve ED symptoms in diabetic males. 

    Lose extra pounds 

    As mentioned, weight can cause or worsen Erectile Dysfunction.

    So, try to lose those extra pounds to treat ED caused by Diabetes. 

    Limit your drinking

    If you choose to consume alcohol, drink it within limits.

    This is because excessive alcohol consumption can worsen diabetes-related medical issues. 

    Healthy diet 

    Persons with Diabetes have to be extra cautious with their diet. 

    They need to maintain the carbohydrates, protein, and fat ratio in their diet. 

    This is to maintain optimal sugar levels. This may prevent the occurrence or worsening of ED.

    Lowering blood sugar levels

    Excessive blood sugar levels are among the main reasons for ED in diabetics. 

    Maintaining proper blood sugar levels may prevent ED. It can also protect the rest of your body from further damage.

    To control blood sugar levels, you may need to take medicines. 

    These include Metformin GLP-1 agonists, Victoza, Ozempic DPP-4 inhibitors, etc. 

    As mentioned, many anti-diabetic medicines can also cause Erectile Dysfunction. So, consult your doctor to use those medicines which are less likely to cause ED.


    In conclusion, there is a strong link between Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction. 

    People with Diabetes are 3.5 times more likely to experience ED than non-diabetics. 

    But the good news is that Erectile Dysfunction caused by Diabetes is treatable.

    Many treatment solutions are beneficial in this case. 

    These include lowering sugar levels, using ED pills, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

    But it is important to consult a doctor to determine your appropriate treatment.

    Key Takeaways
  • Diabetes is one of the main causes of Erectile Dysfunction (ED).
  • Diabetes can trigger Erectile Dysfunction in more than one way.
  • Diabetes-induced ED is reversible, but nerve and blood vessel damage is irreversible.
  • Erectile Dysfunction caused by Diabetes is treatable with medicines like Viagra (Sildenafil).
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Can a diabetic man get a hard-on?

    Yes, a diabetic man can get a hard-on. Although Diabetes can cause Erectile Dysfunction, healthy lifestyle choices can prevent that. These include quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, eating a healthy diet, etc.

    How can diabetics get rid of Erectile Dysfunction?

    Diabetics can get rid of Erectile Dysfunction. They can do so by controlling sugar levels and making lifestyle changes. These include a good diet, regular exercise, no smoking, and consuming less alcohol. Oral pills like Viagra (Sildenafil) are also helpful remedies for ED due to Diabetes.

    Is Viagra OK for diabetics?

    Yes, Viagra is OK for diabetics. Viagra (Sildenafil) is a safe and effective treatment for Erectile Dysfunction in diabetics. But it is advisable to consult a doctor to get personalized advice.

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