Control affects impotence

Tighter control of glucose levels, via early intensive insulin therapy, can dramatically reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction, according to a study of just under 600 young men with type 1 diabetes.

The benefits were seen in a secondary prevention cohort of men with mild microvascular complications at baseline who were then treated for 6.5 years. The men in that group had diabetes for 1–15 years at baseline. 

The study compared intensive and conventional glycaemic therapy. Overall 23% of the men experienced erectile dysfunction, but in the men who had either nonproliferative retinopathy or microalbuminuria, those receiving intensive glucose therapy had significantly lower rates of erectile dysfunction: 12.8% compared with 30.8% receiving conventional therapy.

Higher HbA1c was significantly associated with erectile dysfunction risk in both cohorts. Other risk factors were age and peripheral neuropathy.

J Urol 2011;185:1828