Lots of men deserve to be praised for the careful attention they pay to their penis health. They wash their manhood regularly (with a gentle cleanser), air it out as needed, make sure it gets plenty of exercise, use a penis health crème daily, and so on. But despite focusing so much attention on the penis itself, guys can still develop penis health issues due to conditions which, on the surface, don’t seem like they should have an impact on the penis. Diabetes is one of those conditions.
Diabetes is definitely not one of those obscure diseases that no one knows about. There are more than 30,000,000 people living with diabetes in the U.S. right now (and about 7,000,000 of them don’t know it). It’s the 7th leading cause of death, playing a role in more than 250,000 deaths each year. And the annual cost of diabetes in America runs about $245 billion.
Clearly, diabetes is a serious condition, one in which the body has a hard time managing its blood sugar (glucose) levels. Glucose provides energy for tissue and muscle cells and fuel for the brain. When those levels are not appropriate, there can be serious damage over the long term.
The penis connection
So how does diabetes impact the penis? One way is by creating erectile dysfunction. The erectile process involves the nerves in the body responding to a pleasurable feeling and the penile blood vessels receiving a large influx of blood, which fills spongy tissue in the penis, allowing it to swell up and become erect.
But diabetes can affect that process. When blood sugar is at an elevated level for too long a time, it can cause deterioration in the nerves. As a result, there is a lessening of the pleasurable sensations. This not only makes sexual contact less enjoyable, but it keeps the nerves from sending a strong signal to get the blood pumping.
High sugar levels also cause damage to blood vessels, including those in the penis. They are not able to expand as much as they need to in order to accommodate a great influx of blood. This can dampen both the firmness and the duration of an erection.
But erectile dysfunction is not the only penis health issue diabetes can create. In some cases, diabetes can contribute to a condition known as retrograde ejaculation. In this condition, when a man ejaculates, he does so with either no semen or a very small volume of semen shooting forth from the penis. This is because diabetes damages a sphincter which “closes off” access to the bladder during ejaculation. With the sphincter open, semen flows into the bladder instead of out of the penis and is later evacuated from the bladder during urination. Retrograde ejaculation doesn’t decrease orgasm, but it does make it difficult for a man to sire a child.
Finally, diabetes can contribute to the development of thrush, a yeast infection, in men. Blood sugar from urine that dribbles onto the penis helps the yeast infection develop. Thrush causes the glans to become swollen, red and sore; generates itchiness in the penis; produces pain when urinating; and creates a powerful, unpleasant odor.
Managing diabetes properly is crucial to maintaining proper penis health – and to maintaining better overall health as well. Consulting with a doctor is crucial for proper diabetes management.