It’s not crazy to think that most people will have a sexual problem of some type at some point in their lives. However, certain disease states come with an extra side of sexual complications, and diabetes is one of them. Diabetes and penis health are inextricably linked, most notably when it comes to erectile function.

Why is that? When a man has high sugar levels for a prolonged period, it can damage the blood vessels and nerves, especially the ones that deliver boner-boosting blood to the penis. When blood vessels and nerves get damaged, they restrict blood flow and also cause a reduction in sensation, which is no bueno for an erection. Let’s learn a little bit more about how diabetes and penis health are linked.

Diabetes and Penis Health: Urinary Tract Infections

It’s not widely known, but people with diabetes are more prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs). Why? All that extra sugar in a diabetic’s urine attracts and cultivates bacteria, including the bacteria that cause a UTI. Symptoms of a UTI include chills, high temperature, restlessness, feeling confused, feeling sick, and pain in the back or sides.

Prevention is the best treatment. Keep blood sugar in check, drink plenty of water, and don’t "hold it" when you have to pee. If you already have a UTI, your doctor can prescribe a short course of medication to clear things up.

Diabetes and Penis Health: Candida or Thrush

Thrush is a fungal infection that anyone can get, but men with diabetes have a higher chance due to high amounts of sugar. The abundance of sugar in the urine creates an ideal breeding ground for the bacteria that causes thrush to grow. While it is not a sexually transmitted infection, it can be passed from partner to partner during sex.

How does thrush affect the penis? It can cause the tip or the undersides of a man’s foreskin to be sore or itchy. Discharge and white patches on the glans of the penis are other common symptoms.

Thrush can be treated with antibiotics, but the best way to prevent thrush is to keep blood sugars in the targeted range and have impeccable hygiene.

Diabetes and Penis Health: Erectile Dysfunction

Arguably, the most-known type of sexual problem associated with diabetes is erectile dysfunction (ED). ED happens when a man either cannot get or cannot maintain an erection long enough to have sex to completion. Men with diabetes are 3 times more likely to suffer from ED.

Many factors can cause ED for men with diabetes. It could be nerve damage, damaged blood vessels, or limited blood flow. Medications can cause ED, as well.

Men can use medications like Cialis and Viagra to get erections, but these pills should only be used under a doctor’s care. The best course of action, of course, is to treat diabetes first and worry about the ED later.

Diabetes and Penis Health: Self-esteem

Often overlooked, mental health can be largely affected by issues in penis health. Society places a lot (way too much) emphasis on a man’s ability to be virile and "potent." Men who have sexual issues because of complications from diabetes often feel embarrassed or bad about themselves. They may believe they have less to offer in their relationships. This can also cause men not to want to enjoy intimacy with a partner because of the possibility of an issue that disrupts the natural flow, or the pre-diabetes experience, of intimacy.

Men who suffer from poor self-esteem due to compromised erectile function should talk to a doctor, therapist, or their partner about how they are feeling. Often times, talking it out can make an immediate impact. Remember, nearly 50 percent of all men struggle with erectile function at some point in their lives. No man is alone in this; he needs to reach out and get some support.

Another way to get support for penile health is to use a specially formulated penis health oil (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to reinvigorate the penis. These oils deliver skin-soothing elements to the skin, preventing it from drying and cracking, as can sometimes happen as a side effect of diabetes. This oil also contains vitamin C and L-arginine to boost blood flow for a more energized member. Use once or twice daily for best results.