Sexual dysfunction in the diabetes world focuses very much on erectile problems in men. Failure to achieve an erection is clearly a very distressing problem and unfortunately this is an extremely common consequence of diabetes. The causes include the damaging effects of high blood glucose on the nerves controlling erections and on damage to the blood vessels, which form part of the erectile tissue.

We mostly regard erections as an automatic response to a sexual stimulus. Nerves to the erectile tissue of the penis activate blood vessels which fill with blood, the result of which is to make the penis stiff. In addition to the mechanism within the penis there are many different triggers to this process. These include your psychological wellbeing, your hormone status and proper functioning of your spinal cord. This is why your doctor will need to ask you a number of more general questions regarding your general health before proceeding to treat the problem.

The treatment of erectile dysfunction has been revolutionised by the discovery of drugs which when taken by mouth before sexual arousal, result in erections. These medicines have proven to be a safe and reliable way to relieve what is a distressing and common diabetic complication. There are some people who should not take these medicines if they have additional cardiac problems and it is advisable therefore that the prescription is obtained from your doctor after a full review of your medical condition has taken place. There are other alternative treatments, which can be offered, and a referral to a specialist in sexual medicine may be appropriate.