Scientists say that long-term use of tadalafil in small doses may have a very favorable impact on treating erectile dysfunction in men who are also afflicted with diabetes. They base their arguments on the findings of the 2013 study that investigated how a well-known ED medication – tadalafil (branded as Cialis) – affected spongy penile tissues of albino rats.
The subjects in the study were 48 white male rats in whom diabetes was medically induced by streptozotocin – an agent that occurs in nature and exhibits extreme chronic toxicity towards insulin-producing pancreatic cells. In 1982, Streptozotocin obtained approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for medical use in the treatment of a certain type of pancreatic cancer that specifically targets the islets of Langerhans cells. Given its high overall toxicity, this medication today is prescribed in the most extreme cases to patients who have metastatic, inoperable cancer of the pancreas. However, this drug is widely used in medical research.
In the course of the 2-month trial, the control group of diabetic rats received a daily dose of 0.09 milligrams of tadalafil per every 200 grams of weight. When the rats were euthanized following the completion of the test (the next day after they had had their last tadalafil intake), a complex of post-mortem studies and measurements was conducted to assess the state of the penile cavernous tissues and intracavernous pressure in the devitalized animals.
The findings were very encouraging as it turned out that the long-term use of low-dose tadalafil in diabetic rats led to the dilation of the cavernous tissue, the increase of the elastic tissue, and complete absence of immunoreactivity in the smooth muscle tissues, which ultimately meant a significant improvement of the erectile function. The percent of rats with these effects was slightly lower than the value anticipated but there is certainly room and stimulus for improvement.
What does erectile dysfunction mean?
Erectile dysfunction is a very common condition, especially among men over 40 years old; however, in recent years, erectile dysfunction has become considerably younger. Chicago Centro Medico has analysed hundreads of feedbacks from their customers and concluded that today it can often be found in men who are in their twenties. The condition is described as men’s continual inability to get and maintain firm penile arousal even when sufficient sexual stimulation is present.
Male erectile dysfunction can be the result of several psychological factors like depressive states, performance anxiety, work-related stress, and problems in one’s relationships. Besides, erectile dysfunction very often has physiological origins. Among the most frequent physical causes of ED doctors name clogging of blood vessels, elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, obesity, and, of course, diabetes.
Doctors say between 35% and 70% of men who have diabetes will develop some form of erectile dysfunction at one point in their lifetime, usually 5 to 15 years sooner than men who do not have diabetes will. The chances of developing erectile dysfunction increase as men get older, and thus, at the age of 70, there is almost 100% likelihood of men experiencing problems with their erections.
How is ED related to diabetes?
Diabetes may trigger male erectile dysfunction in a few ways. These include narrowing and clogging of vessels that carry blood to the penis and the deterioration of the nerve function. To produce an erection hard enough for a man to engage in sex, the human body must produce a sufficient amount of nitric oxide – a key agent that causes smooth muscle relaxation in the penis and blood vessel dilation for better blood supply to the organ. When there is not enough nitric oxide produced in the body, it becomes increasingly more difficult for men to evoke an erection.
Men with diabetes, especially those in whom this condition is managed poorly, experience often fluctuations of their blood sugar level. Elevated sugar levels mean less nitric oxide is produced and released into the bloodstream, which ultimately reduces men’s ability to become sexually erect.
Diabetes may also have such a crippling effect on men’s sex life because, in the long run, it leads to significant damage to the nerves that control erections. All the nerves are intertwined to transmit a signal from the brain to the penis, telling it to become and stay erect. If some nerves are damaged, the signal will not go through.
Is there an effective treatment for diabetes-related ED?
Diabetes is a life-long condition that has no treatment just yet. However, many therapies have proved to be extremely effective in managing this health problem and keeping a person’s blood sugar under control.
When diabetes in men is complicated by erectile dysfunction, doctors can advise their patients to try branded oral ED medications like Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra or opt for more affordable generic sildenafil, tadalafil, and vardenafil. These drugs show favorable treatment outcome in 50% of men who have type I diabetes, and 60% of men with type II diabetes. Doctors also warn their patients about the need to remove any environmental and lifestyle factors that might exacerbate the condition, such as fatty meals, which are taken right before sex, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of sexual stimulation before intercourse, performance anxiety, unresolved psychological issues, etc.
When these branded and generic ED pills fail to help, men can try psychological counseling, hormonal therapy (only when testosterone levels are low), penile injections of a combination of sildenafil and alprostadil, vacuum pumps, and, finally, surgery.