Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be a real challenge leading to low self-esteem, depression and stress.
For starters, Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be described as the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.
While this can be as a result of factors like age, stress, anxiety and depression, persons living with diabetes are twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction and at a younger age, notes the Diabetes Management Resource Center – Kenya (DMRC-K).
“In some cases, difficulty maintaining an erection can precede the diabetes condition. Diabetes is characterized by high sugar levels in the blood which can lead to nerve and artery damage. When a man is sexually aroused, a chemical called nitric oxide is released into the bloodstream and it brings about relaxation of muscles in the penis,” DMRC-K says.
It adds: “The relaxed mode allows more blood to flow to the penis leading to an erection. However, when sugar levels get too high less nitric oxide is produced meaning there is not enough blood flowing into the penis to get or maintain an erection.”
The diabetes resource centre goes on to note that although ED can become a permanent condition, it is not inevitable.
The big question, therefore is, how do you arrest the problem before it becomes a permanent problem?
1. Seek medical advice
Upon experiencing erectile challenges, the first step is to raise these concerns with a qualified doctor who can pinpoint the problem and offer proper guidance on the appropriate medication, DMRC-K says.
A number of ED treatments are available including oral drugs like Sildenafil citrate (Viagra), Cialis and vardenafil HCI that boost blood flow to the penis during stimulation although there’s a concern that these drugs cause harm to the heart).
There are also shots and injectables that could be undertaken according to the doctor’s directives, penile implants and vacuum pumps available over the counter that help with blood flow.
The doctor will also be able to examine the extent of the nerve damage and also arrest the issue immediately.
2. Lifestyle change
The main lifestyle change that you need to have to avert cases of ED is controlling your blood sugar through a diabetes-friendly diet. A proper diet geared towards keeping blood sugar levels at check can improve energy levels and moods. One may consider working with a dietitian who is a certified diabetes educator to assist adjusting their eating style.
3. Avoid excessive drinking and smoking
Excessive consumption of alcohol can result to destroyed blood vessels. In fact, being mildly intoxicated could interfere with sexual functioning. Smoking too narrows blood vessels and decreases the level of nitric oxide in the blood.
4. Physical exercises
It would be helpful to include physical exercise in one’s daily routine which plays a part in preventing ED because it helps with weight loss and reduced stress levels that leads to improved blood flow.
5. Get enough sleep, meditate
Stress levels can also be reduced by getting enough sleep, embracing relaxing practices like meditation and setting time to do things that one enjoys doing. A therapist can be helpful in cases where one experiences depression and abnormal anxieties.