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Diabetes and Male Sexual Health

Posted on November 1, 2020

From kidney issues to eye complications, it’s a well-established fact that diabetes has multiple negative effects on the body. For men, this includes both fertility and sexual health issues.

It’s estimated by the CDC that about 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, with 88 million American adults having prediabetes. To put that in perspective, this roughly equates to one in ten adults having diabetes and one in three having prediabetes. Although diabetes affects both men and women, men are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, even when maintaining a lower BMI. Men are also more likely to be undiagnosed.

Diabetes and Male Reproductive Health

Erectile dysfunction is a condition in which a male is unable to get or maintain an erection. It’s common in men who have diabetes. In order to maintain an erection, the penis requires a significant amount of blood flow. Because diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels, the penis may not receive as much blood flow as it needs.

Diabetes can lead to erectile dysfunction in other ways. For example, diabetes can cause damage to the nerves, which can decrease sensation in the penis, making erections difficult to achieve. Diabetes is also often accompanied by other conditions, such as obesity or depression – both of which can increase the chances of developing erectile dysfunction.

Outside of erection issues, diabetes can compromise male fertility. Studies show that men with diabetes are more likely to have reduced sperm quantity. However, it’s worth noting that, while diabetes may affect the quantity, it doesn’t seem to have an impact on sperm motility.

Having a low sperm count as a diabetic is often caused by low levels of testosterone. Men with diabetes have low testosterone; conversely, men with low testosterone are more likely to develop diabetes. Testosterone is mostly known for its role as the primary male sex hormone; however, it also helps the body absorb blood sugar. Low testosterone is tied to both erectile dysfunction and obesity, both of which are associated with diabetes.

What You Can Do

In addition to having an impact on your fertility and sexual health, diabetes can lead to several extremely serious conditions, including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, kidney issues, and vision problems. For men who are at risk for developing diabetes, it’s crucial that you have regular checkups to ensure that you’re healthy. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, early detection can significantly improve your chances of maintaining your general and reproductive health.

You can possibly stave off fertility and sexual problems by making a few adjustments to your lifestyle, including:

  • Eating a healthy diet

  • Integrating physical activity into your daily routine

  • Quitting smoking if you’re a smoker

  • Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption

To learn more about diabetes and the effect it has on male fertility and reproductive health, contact the Fertility Center of California today.

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