These 5 Diabetes Treatments Will Help With ED
Many studies point to a link between diabetes and erectile dysfunction (ED). Knowing how to combat ED and diabetes at the same time can increase your overall quality of life and also help you rediscover your spark in the bedroom.
While erectile dysfunction is a common condition—especially for men over age 40—men with diabetes have a higher risk of ED. It's estimated that 27 to 75 percent of men with diabetes also have ED. Diabetes treatments are vital to managing the condition and, perhaps surprisingly, they can help with ED, too.
If you are overweight, losing a few pounds is one of the best ways to improve blood sugar levels. Losing just 5 percent of your body weight can reduce blood sugar when you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Several weight-loss strategies can treat diabetes and the ED associated with it:
- Increase fruit and vegetable intake
- Exercise daily
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep at night
- Keep stress levels low
- Drink water before meals
- Boost your protein intake
- Increase fiber intake
- Reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol
- Steer clear of sweets
If you're overweight or obese, aim to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week by burning 500 to 1,000 more calories than you eat daily. You can accomplish this goal by combining healthy eating with regular exercise. Weight loss can also be beneficial for your erectile function.
Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
Physical activity not only helps healthy weight management, it's also beneficial for blood sugar control and testosterone levels in men. When someone has diabetes, the body does not make enough or any insulin, the hormone made by the pancreas that helps glucose from food get into the body's cells to be used for energy. Exercise increases your body's sensitivity to insulin, which means you need less insulin to move sugar from your blood into other body tissues. Several types of exercise are also likely to improve your sexual function.
At a minimum, aim to be physically active at least 30 minutes on most days. Depending on your physical fitness level, you can start small and make incremental, healthy choices such as going for a daily walk. Men who are already active can add jogging, cycling, rowing, swimming or other aerobic workouts, along with weight training several days a week. In general, you'll want to keep your body moving as much as you can throughout the day. If you have a desk job, take breaks to move your body every 30 minutes.
Make simple diet changes
Making dietary changes is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight and keep blood sugar under control when you have diabetes, as well as address ED issues. While there's no specific diabetes diet, several changes that can reduce blood sugar include:
- Cut out white bread, white rice and other refined grains
- Reduce sweets and sugar-sweetened drinks
- Avoid diet drinks that contain artificial sweeteners
- Increase intake of fruits and vegetables
- Boost intake of lean proteins
- Choose whole grains over refined grains
- Eat nuts, seeds, avocados, nut butters and other healthy fats
- Increase legumes and other high-fiber foods
- Cut back on fatty cuts of meat and processed meats
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol
Men should aim for at least 38 grams of fiber daily. Examples of fiber-rich foods include one large pear (7 grams), one cup of fresh raspberries (8 grams), half a medium-size avocado (5 grams) and one cup of cooked barley (6 grams).
It's important to space out your carbohydrate consumption throughout the day. Choose a good balance of proteins, healthy fats and fiber-rich foods at each meal.
If you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes in some cases, your doctor may recommend you use insulin injections to effectively move sugar from your blood into other body tissues. The benefit to your blood flow and body weight can also improve your ED symptoms.
You can use an insulin pen or a fine needle with a syringe. Follow your doctor's instructions when using insulin and adjust your food intake to match your insulin regimen. Keep your eating habits, especially your carbohydrate intake, consistent from day to day.
Take oral medicines
If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medications to better manage your blood sugar, which in turn can reduce ED symptoms. You may need both oral medicines and insulin injections in some cases.
Diabetes medications help your pancreas produce more insulin, inhibit the release of glucose from your liver, make body tissues more sensitive to insulin or prevent your kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood. Take all medications as directed by your doctor, and monitor your blood sugar regularly to ensure your diabetes treatment is working in its intended fashion.
By incorporating these diabetes management tips into your life, you can fight erectile dysfunction at the same time.