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Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction: What is the Link

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Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is a male sexual dysfunction that impairs a person’s ability to achieve erections. 

According to the NIDDK, it affects around 30 million people in the United States. This condition is widespread due to various contributing factors. 

The causes of ED can be psychological, such as performance anxiety, depression, etc.

Yet, ED usually develops due to physical health issues.

One of the leading causes of ED is Diabetes. Men with Diabetes are more prone to developing ED than those without.

This article examines the relationship between Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction and suggests treatment options.

Can Diabetes cause Erectile Dysfunction

Diabetes is one of the most common risk factors for Erectile Dysfunction. It can cause damage to the body that can impair the ability to get or maintain erections

Not everyone with Diabetes has the same likelihood of getting ED. It is more common among people with:

  • Have had Diabetes for a long time
  • Have Diabetes-related issues such as peripheral neuropathy or diabetic retinopathy
  • Have consistently higher blood sugar or A1C levels than your target range

How does Diabetes cause Erectile Dysfunction

Diabetes can harm the nerves and blood vessels that supply the penis, which might result in ED.

A person gets an erection when they are sexually aroused. During sexual stimulation, the body releases nitric oxide in the bloodstream.

Nitric oxide signals the arteries and penis muscles to relax, allowing more blood to enter the penis. This process causes an erection.

Men with Diabetes have frequent blood sugar swings. High blood sugar levels lead to low nitric oxide production.  

Due to this, they experience insufficient blood flow in the penis to sustain an erection.

Interested in delving deep into the significance of nitric oxide in getting and maintaining an erection. Dive into this informative articleWhat is Nitric Oxide Erection? Know How it Works and Its Supplements.

Prevalence of Diabetes-induced ED

Diabetes affects the blood flow and the nerves in the penis. Due to this, it is a common cause of Erectile Dysfunction. 

Research suggests that men with Diabetes have a 35 to 75% likelihood of developing ED. The researchers found that men without Diabetes only had a 26% chance of getting ED. 

They also had a greater risk of developing Erectile Dysfunction earlier in life. While most men with ED develop erection problems in mid-age, diabetics may develop it 10-15 years earlier.

The American Journal of Medicine found that 95% of ED patients had Diabetes or one of its risk factors.

ED is common as men age. However, it can also happen to younger individuals. Read the article to uncover the reasons – All About the Causes of Erectile Dysfunction in the 20s.

Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction in Diabetes

Metformin tablets (you can take ED pills along with this)Source: girubalani_garnarajan_from_Getty_Images
Metformin tablets (you can take ED pills along with this)

If you have ED, your doctor will likely recommend an oral Phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor

These include medicines like Sildenafil (Viagra), Tadalafil (Cialis), or Vardenafil (Levitra). 

These prescription ED medications help enhance blood flow to the penis. They are generally well-tolerated by most men.

Having Diabetes should not prevent you from taking one of these drugs. They have no harmful interactions with Diabetes medications such as Glucophage (Metformin) or with the disease.

In addition to medications, managing Diabetes is crucial to treat ED. Consider incorporating some exercises to help control your blood sugar levels. Check this article to Know Five Exercises For Regulating Your Diabetes.

Always check with your healthcare provider for possible interactions before starting any new medication.

Best ED pill for Diabetics

Choosing the right pill for Diabetes-induced ED depends on a person’s condition and needs. Your doctor will analyze which medicine works best for you. 

Currently, some of the common Erectile Dysfunction pills available on the market are:

The generic versions of these medicines are also sold under various names. They work the same way as the brand-name versions but are affordable.


Viagra is the first medicine doctors prescribe for ED. Thus, it may be the best-starting medicine for the condition. 

It comes in four doses, i.e., 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. It takes effect within 30 to 60 minutes and lasts around 4 hours.

It is best to avoid taking Viagra with food, especially those heavy in fat. You may consume a light meal.

Viagra may be best for people who want a medicine that can be taken when required before sexual activity.

Eager to know the working mechanism of Viagra? Read this article – “How Does Viagra Work and Some More Viagra Facts?“.


Cialis dosageSource: pixelshot
Taking Cialis pill

Cialis dosages are available in 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg strengths. It is available in lower concentrations as it is highly potent

Cialis starts working within 15 to 30 minutes but can take up to 2 hours to reach peak concentrations. Its effects last for over 36 hours.

You may take Cialis with or without food. It works best for users who require less planning before sex and prefer taking it as a daily medicine in lower doses.

Confused between Cialis and Viagra? Delve into this article to decide the best pill for you- Which One Should I Take: Cialis vs Viagra


Levitra, the brand name of Vardenafil, is also a helpful option for diabetic people with ED. 

It comes in doses of 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg. It is incredibly potent and starts working within an hour. Its effects last for around 5 hours. 

Levitra may be the best option for people with chronic or stable cardiovascular disease.

Read this article to know “How To Make Levitra More Effective: Know What Foods and Drugs to Avoid?“.

Is Erectile Dysfunction a long-term side effect of Diabetes?

When a Diabetic gets ED, it is a symptom that they are developing long-term diabetes issues. Getting your heart, kidneys, and eyes tested may be best.
Damage to erectile function could also indicate damage to other organs.

Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction — final thoughts

Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction are common health conditions with a close link. 

Diabetes patients frequently experience Erectile Dysfunction. Yet, there are ways to control and treat ED symptoms

Medications like Cialis, Viagra, and Levitra may be beneficial. However, medicines work best when paired with lifestyle changes and diabetes management. 

These include lowering blood sugar levels, losing weight, and enhancing mental and physical health.

Do not let ED hamper your rememberable moments!

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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Can Erectile Dysfunction caused by Diabetes be reversed?

    With careful blood sugar control, it is possible to prevent or delay the onset of ED. Nevertheless, diabetes-induced nerve and blood vessel damage cannot be reversed.

    How do diabetics get rid of Erectile Dysfunction?

    You can get rid of ED even if you have Diabetes. Following a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep, avoiding smoking, and reducing stress may help relieve symptoms. 
    Diabetic people may take ED medication with a prescription to deal with their erection problems.

    Can a diabetic man get a hard-on?

    Diabetic men are three times more likely to have trouble achieving an erection than others. Limited blood flow and nerve damage due to Diabetes can make it difficult to get an erection.

    Is Viagra OK for diabetics?

    You may take Viagra or other ED medications with Diabetes if prescribed by your doctor. ED medicines are well-tolerated by most diabetic people.

    Why does Viagra not work for diabetics?

    Viagra may not work for diabetics with nerve damage. The nerves and blood vessels play an essential part in erectile function. 
    Viagra helps produce an erection by increasing blood flow. It cannot do so if there is damage in the blood vessels and nerves.

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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