Ask Your Doctor These 5 Questions About ED if You Have Diabetes
About half of men who suffer from diabetes will have a bout of erectile dysfunction (ED) at some point in their lives. Despite the high incidence of ED, patients with diabetes shouldn't accept the condition as a certainty. By considering these questions to ask your doctor, you can avoid the stigma and lackluster love life that can plague some men who have both diabetes and ED.
1. Why am I suffering from ED?
If you're suffering from erectile dysfunction, don't shroud your condition in secrecy. Be upfront and ask your doctor why you may have ED. While the answer may revolve around your diabetes, that isn't always the case.
Your doctor will assess your health and lifestyle and let you know their diagnosis. In diabetes patients, ED is the result of damage to blood vessels and nerves resulting from high blood sugar levels. On the other hand, your weight, high blood pressure or heart disease could be the culprit. The only way to find out is to ask.
2. How can I manage my diabetes to prevent ED?
Preventing the causes of ED is a head-on approach to improving your sex life. Yet when you have diabetes, managing it is the most direct route. Diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are too high, and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to symptoms of ED. Your doctor should have a few different methods to lower your blood sugar. You can try natural approaches, such as exercising, cutting out carbohydrates, eating more fiber and drinking more water. Your doctor may also suggest you stop smoking or minimize alcohol consumption. Both drinking and smoking can also cause ED in diabetes patients, as well as in many other men.
3. Could any of my medications be the source of ED?
In some cases, diabetes may not be the source of your ED. Certain diabetes medications and prescription drugs for other conditions may cause your ED. For example, antidepressants, antihistamines and high blood pressure medications could contribute to erection problems.
One study showed that 25 percent of all ED cases are merely the result of medications, compared with just 9 percent stemming from diabetes. Therefore, you should always ask your doctor if any of your medications might cause ED and, if so, whether they have any alternatives.
Giddy urologist Dr. Edwin Morales explains in depth how certain medications can cause erectile dysfunction. Watch the video here.
4. Should I seek therapy or counseling?
If ED is ruining your intimate relationships, you may need more than lifestyle changes and medication to resolve the situation. Consider asking your doctor about a recommendation for therapy or counseling.
Consulting a sex therapist may not solve the physical aspect of the problem, but it can provide you and your partner with coping mechanisms that can alleviate emotional anxiety and stress. Therapy may prove to be an effective way to share your feelings with your partner in an open forum while also discussing the issue with a neutral party.
Giddy couples therapist Rachel Madorsky shares some guidance about playing the "blame game" in the ED Guide video series. Click here to watch the video.
5. Should I consider treatment options unrelated to diabetes?
ED afflicts a large portion of diabetes patients, but that doesn't always mean diabetes is the root of the problem. Age and many other factors can also play roles in ED. If your doctor can't determine whether your ED is the result of diabetes, you should ask about other treatment options.
Oral medications such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and avanafil (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and Stendra) increase blood flow to the penis, which can help you maintain an erection. However, ED pills are known to cause negative side effects like diarrhea, nausea, headaches, vision issues and others. Alternatives to ED pills may include a wearable vacuum or constriction device—Eddie by GiddyⓇ is the medical-grade, FDA Class II option—and medical injections or even penile implants in extreme cases. With several available choices, you can experiment to find which solution works best for you.
For ED sufferers who also have diabetes, asking your doctor the right questions can open up a world of possibilities and solutions. With the right mix of healthy habits, diet and medication or therapy, you can find the ideal treatment program and restore a satisfying sex life.