Effect of diabetes on erection problems

Men with diabetes are more likely than men who do not have diabetes to have erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Diabetes can cause problems with blood vessels and the nervous system. Possible causes of erection problems include:

  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) in the arteries of the penis. Diabetes increases the risk of atherosclerosis.
  • Damage to the nerves (neuropathy) that control the flow of blood in the penis or that carry sensation from the penis to the brain.
  • Damage to the smooth muscle tissue in the penis that must relax so that the penis can fill with blood and enlarge.

Last Updated: May 21, 2008

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