Many of us are aware of the consequences of uncontrolled diabetes but very few are aware of sexual dysfunctions. Many sexual problems can occur as a result of diabetic complications.
Men may have problems like erectile dysfunction, retrograded ejaculation (semen travels back into the bladder instead of coming out through the penis), dyspareunia (painful intercourse) and premature ejaculation.
Women may experience problems like orgasmic dysfunction (inability to reach orgasm) and dyspareunia. India is close to becoming the diabetes capital of the world, correspondingly exhibits a high incidence of erectile dysfunction. The causes of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes are complex and involve impairments in nerve, blood vessel, and muscle function. To get an erection, men need healthy blood vessels, nerves, male hormones, and a desire to be sexually stimulated.
It must be noted that it is not diabetes but rather its complications that cause sexual problems. The problems are caused due to damaged blood vessels and nerves due to the abnormal accumulation of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs). AGEs adversely affect the functioning of endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels. The endothelium is the seat of many chemical reactions which ultimately determines the amount of blood flowing through arteries and thereby into the organs. When this endothelium is damaged, it cannot relax and allow sufficient blood to flow through it. Therefore, even if you have normal amounts of male hormones and you have the desire to have sex, you still may not be able to achieve a firm erection as it will not receive sufficient blood.
Drugs and side effects
Furthermore, people with diabetes frequently take medications to lower blood pressure and common prescription blood pressure medications like some diuretics and beta blockers are known to cause ED. These drugs not only affect and often times suppress the central nervous system, but can also cause serious damage to the blood vessels, resulting in permanent ED.
Other primary causes of ED include lifestyle problems like smoking, drinking alcohol, being overweight, taking too little exercise and the other lifestyle factors. The cause can also be in your medicine cabinet as there are more than 300 medicines including a number of prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs that can cause erectile dysfunction.