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Dear Doc | I cannot get it up!

Published:Sunday | June 30, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Q Dear Doc, I am a middle-aged man and I am diabetic and I have been on insulin for 10 years. I must admit, I have not had the best sugar control over the years; however, I have a bigger problem now. I cannot get it up! I recently met someone, and I am very attracted to her sexually; however, I can’t get my penis to work! I am now very embarrassed because after three attempts and nothing, I don’t think she will give me another chance and is likely to be laughing at me.

What can I do? Has my bad sugar control caused this damage? Can it be reversed?


A Erectile dysfunction is the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sex and is very common in men who have diabetes.

It is estimated that about 35 per cent to 75 per cent of men with diabetes will experience at least some degree of erectile dysfunction during their lifetime.

Men with diabetes tend to develop erectile dysfunction an average 10 to 15 years earlier than men without diabetes, and it becomes even more common with age. Above the age of 50, approximately 50 per cent of men with diabetes will have difficulty with achieving an erection.

Why Do Men With Diabetes Have Erectile Dysfunction?

It stems from damage to nerves and blood vessels caused by poor, long-term blood sugar control, and involves 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. Poorly controlled diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves that control erection. In such a case, even if you have normal amounts of male hormones and you have the desire to have sex, you still will not be able to achieve a firm erection.

Erectile dysfunction can also be linked to other conditions common in men with diabetes, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Many men are reluctant to discuss erectile dysfunction with their doctors, but it is important that you do in order to get the help you need.

Let your doctor know about what happened and how long it has been happening, and what exactly occurs whenever it does happen. This will better allow your doctor to consider all the possible underlying causes of your erectile dysfunction, and to give you information about medication and other erectile dysfunction treatments.

First and foremost, however, is getting your blood sugar under control.

Ask your doctor if there is anything more you should be doing to better manage your diabetes. Improving your blood sugar levels will help prevent the nerve and blood vessel damage that leads to erectile dysfunction, as well as prevent any further damage that may already be present. It will also make you feel better overall and improve your quality of life.

Lose excess pounds. Being overweight can cause, or worsen, erectile dysfunction.

Include physical activity in your daily routine. Exercise can help with underlying conditions that play a part in erectile dysfunction in a number of ways, including reducing stress, helping you lose weight, and increasing blood flow.