Most men who are diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED) don’t follow through with treating it, says research from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.
Researchers analyzed 6.2 million health insurance claims for men who received an ED diagnosis, and discovered that only 25 percent filled a prescription for treatment during the 12-month study period.
Erectile dysfunction — the inability to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sex — is common in men who have diabetes. It can stem from problems caused by poor long-term blood sugar control, which damages nerves and blood vessels.
Men with diabetes tend to develop erectile dysfunction 10 to 15 years earlier than men without diabetes. As men with diabetes age, erectile dysfunction becomes even more common. Above the age of 50, the likelihood of having difficulty with an erection occurs in approximately 50% to 60% of men with diabetes. Above age 70, there is about a 95% likelihood of having some difficulty with erectile dysfunction.
One potential barrier to treatment is cost: Many drugs don’t have generic versions yet, and some insurance companies provide limited or no coverage, says study author Kevin McVary, M.D. as reported by Men’s Health.
Men may also feel too embarrassed to drop off the prescription at the pharmacy, or believe ED isn’t a high-enough concern to bother addressing it, Dr. McVary says.
Another problem is that people with diabetes also tend to have problems with their heart, these medications may not be appropriate and could cause dangerous interactions with some heart medicines. Talk to your doctor to determine what treatment is best.
Additional treatments men with diabetes might want to consider include intracavernous injection therapy, vacuum erection (not constriction) devices, venous constriction devices (for venous leak syndrome), intraurethral therapy, penile prostheses (inflatable and malleable), and sex therapy.
So what treatment is best? It depends on many factors including a man’s health and his ability to tolerate the treatment. Ask your doctor if you should see a specialist (a urologist) to determine the best treatment for your situation.
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