Posts Tagged ‘Diabetes Mellitus’


// October 29th, 2010 // No Comments » // Impotence

While Viagra improves sexual function for men whose impotence is caused by a wide variety of physical and emotional problems, it does not work as well for every man every time. Much has been made of the fact that following his prostate cancer surgery, former senator Bob Dole participated in one of the early Viagra trials. He was so pleased with the result that he went on the Larry King Live show touting the benefits of this new medication for men with erectile dysfunction. Not all men who have had prostate cancer surgery do as well as former senator Dole. After prostate cancer surgery, less than 50 percent of Viagra-treated men are able to have sexual intercourse. This is especially true in men who have had the more aggressive prostate cancer surgery called radical retropubic prostatectomy (RRP), which cuts into neurovascular bundles vital for normal erectile function. Other coexistent medical problems such as diabetes mellitus and spinal-cord injury may also limit Viagra’s efficacy.

Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetic Neuropathy

// October 25th, 2010 // No Comments » // Impotence

Diabetes mellitus is a common medical condition affecting 10 million Americans, 4 million of them men. Diabetes sets in motion events that damage the heart, eyes, and kidneys and prevent nerves from transmitting impulses efficiently. The nerve damage is called diabetic neuropathy, and it takes several different forms.

Impotence in diabetic men may be a reflection of a neuropathy affecting several different types of nerves. Some nerves carry messages of sensation, like pain and pleasure. Others transmit impulses that allow the pelvic muscles to contract during ejaculation. One other critical component of the nervous system, the autonomic nervous system, is also vital for sexual function. The autonomic nervous system works silently and effortlessly and helps us get through many daily functions.

For example, in the morning, when we first stand up, our blood pressure drops. This fall is temporary; the autonomic nervous system instigates a battery of neural responses that helps stabilize blood pressure. Diabetic patients with autonomic neuropathy cannot do this. Because diabetes has damaged their autonomic nervous system, they cannot marshal a prompt increase in blood pressure. Diabetics’blood pressure often falls to very low levels, occasionally causing fainting.

The autonomic nervous system also plays an important role in transmitting messages for erections, ejaculation, and bladder function. Diabetic men with autonomic neuropathy become impotent, are unable to ejaculate, and may even have trouble emptying their bladders completely when they urinate.

nadequate autonomic nervous system function can also occur in older nondiabetic men. Idiopathic autonomic insufficiency produces similar symptoms of inability to stand upright without feeling faint, loss of the ability to empty the bladder, impotence, and inability to ejaculate.

In terms of sexual potency, men with diabetes mellitus have to contend with two problems — altered nerve function and diminished blood flow due to diabetes-induced damage to blood vessels. In addition to causing nerve damage, diabetes attacks the blood vessels that must dilate and enlarge to pump blood into the penis for an erection to develop.

Symptoms suggesting diabetic nerve damage include loss of sensation at the tip of the penis, numbness of the lower extremities, and spasms or unexplained pain in the legs. The regularity with which impotence occurs in diabetics is striking. Young diabetics have no more sexual dysfunction than their nondiabetic contemporaries do. But they can anticipate a progressive decline in sexual function. Ten years after the onset of diabetes, 50 percent of diabetic men will be impotent. By age seventy, more than 95 percent are impotent. We do not yet know how to repair diabetic nerve damage, although there are treatments for the impotence it causes. Penile implants and penile injections and on occasion Viagra have been used to help restore potency in men suffering from diabetic neuropathy.

Diabetes Mellitus and Impotence

// October 25th, 2010 // No Comments » // Impotence

Impotence is a common problem for diabetic men. Sexual problems do not surface when diabetes first appears, but after some years, the diabetic process can damage blood vessels and nerves needed for erections. The large or medium-size arteries become clogged, and blood cannot reach the penis with sufficient force to create an erection. Diabetes can scar smaller arteries, restricting the “breathing room” of the penile erectile cylinders so they cannot expand sufficiently for a fully rigid erection.

Diabetes also disables the nerves that normally signal penile blood vessels to start trapping blood to hold an erection. Symptoms and signs of this diabetic nerve damage (neuropathy) include numbness or tingling of the legs and feet and difficulty in fully emptying the bladder.