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June 29, 2002

Complications

Question from Pakistan:

After how much time of having diabetes, can a man lose his ability to have an erection and eject semen? I have a good control, but my penis feels tired (some stiffness) after ejection, and I am very worried about it.

Answer:

Decreased erectile function can result from diabetic neuropathy involving the nerves responsible for normal sexual function. The good news is that medications can improve sexual function, especially erectile function.

Although it does not have much effect on libido, erectile function is markedly improved with medications like Viagra. In addition, other medications may also help with this problem. I would suggest you discuss this with your physician and obtain additional therapy.

JTL

[Editor’s comment: Diabetic neuropathy or small vessel disease affects erectile function and ejaculation over a period of time measured in years. Such problems must be evaluated for other causes, that have nothing to do with diabetes, such as side effects of some medications and other completely separate medical problems (such as tumors of the pituitary that secrete a hormone called prolactin).

WWQ]