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Does Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, MD · Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Dan Navarro · Updated Aug 19, 2022

Does Diabetes Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that occurs when you have high blood sugar that starts from 180 mg/dL. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. There are cases wherein diabetes can sometimes affect men’s sexual performance, hence the question: does diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?

Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction

People who have Type 1 Diabetes aren’t able to produce insulin. On the other hand, people with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin. Since Type 2 diabetes affects the testosterone levels of a male. Thus, low testosterone levels lead to having a low sperm count. This may cause ejaculation problems, and cause the following:

Reduced Fertility

As studies show, 1 to 4 men with type 2 diabetes have low testosterone levels. This can affect fertility by decreasing sperm production. However, to address this issue, a man may try testosterone replacement therapy.

Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

Does diabetes cause erectile dysfunction? Yes, there are some diabetic patients who experience erectile problems. The relationship between diabetes and ED has yet to be fully explored as diabetes is only one of many factors that could lead to ED.

Erectile problems can also be caused by psychological and physical factors including:

  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Reduced levels of testosterone

Erectile dysfunction is the inability of a male to maintain or to achieve an erection that is firm enough for the sex. Fortunately, there are treatments that can be done such as the following:

Vacuum-constriction: A device that is also known as “penis pump” or “vacuum pump” pumps blood into the penis to make it firm enough for penetration.

Penile Implants: If the penis pump doesn’t work, penile implants can be an alternative option though it requires surgery.

Alternative options are the following:


Medications such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, Stendra), cream, patches and injectable medications can be used to address ED. But make sure it is prescribed by a doctor since it can also affect the heart and may cause further problems.

Erectile dysfunction that is caused by diabetes can be addressed by first managing the underlying health issue.

Here’s are other ways to improve performance.

Stay healthy

Eat nutritious foods and engage in a lifestyle that also promotes good heart health and proper blood circulation. Seek medical help so that you may set health goals and address concerns that may be the cause of your diabetes and ED. 

Nurture relationships

Intimacy doesn’t always mean sexual intercourse. When it comes to problems in the bedroom, it’s best to talk to your partner and seek support in each other. 

Stop smoking

Smoking has been found to decrease sperm count.

Take care of your mental health

Emotional stress such as depression and anxiety may interfere with hormones and can negatively affect sperm concentration.

Alcohol intake.

Studies show that alcohol can reduce testosterone levels and decrease sperm production.


Those occupations which are associated with prolonged sitting are sometimes linked to a risk of infertility.

Key Takeaways

While the answer to the question “Does diabetes cause erectile dysfunction?” leans toward yes, the data is limited and there is still a lot of research required for it to become totally feasible. While diabetes does not directly cause erectile dysfunction, diabetes affects the levels of testosterone that may cause it. 

Having type 2 diabetes can lead to several problems, including infertility. Men with diabetes are more prone to erectile dysfunction, however, this is not fully understood.

Learn more about Erectile Dysfunction here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mia Dacumos, MD

Nephrology · Makati Medical Center

Written by Dan Navarro · Updated Aug 19, 2022

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