Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common in young men with Type 1 diabetes, affecting more than one third of men 18 to 35 in a recent study. Approximately 1.25 million people in the United States are living with Type 1 diabetes, and roughly 30 million American men are affected by erectile dysfunction.
Erectile dysfunction is characterized by the inability to maintain an erection for sexual intercourse. Men with diabetes are at increased risk of ED, and the condition can be more severe and occur earlier in this population, but no previous studies have focused on young men with Type 1 diabetes. To evaluate the prevalence of ED in young men with Type 1, researchers in Italy looked at data from the Management and Technology for Transition (METRO) study for 151 men ages 18–35 with Type 1 diabetes and 66 men of the same age without diabetes.
They found that 37% (57 of 151) of the subjects with Type 1 diabetes had erectile dysfunction, compared to only 6% (4 of 60) of those without diabetes. Among those with diabetes, the rates of erectile dysfunction were similar between those taking insulin injections and those using insulin pumps. Fifty-eight percent of the men had mild ED, 24% had mild to moderate ED, 7% had moderate ED, and 11% had severe ED.
“Given the high prevalence of ED in young diabetic men, the assessment of sexual function in the diabetes setting should not be neglected by clinicians, even for young Type 1 diabetic patients,” said researcher Maria Ida Maiorino, MD.
Whether the men were depressed was found to be a significant predictor of whether they had erectile dysfunction, leading the researchers to call for further studies into whether treating psychological conditions can help improve ED in young men with diabetes.
For more information, see the article “Erectile Dysfunction Common in Young Men With Type 1 Diabetes” or the study’s abstract in the International Journal of Impotence Research: The Journal of Sexual Medicine. And to learn more about approaches to treat erectile dysfunction, read “When Viagra Doesn’t Work,” by Ann Ezzell and Neil Baum, MD.