About half of all diabetic men are unable to have sexual intercourse, because high blood sugars have impaired the mechanisms involved in attaining erection of the penis. Frequently partial, albeit inadequate, erections are still possible; such “borderline” men may still be able to enjoy adequate erections for intercourse, after extended periods of normal blood sugars. We have seen such improvements in a number of patients—but only in those whose problem was caused mainly by neuropathy (nerve damage), as opposed to blockages of the blood vessels that supply the penis. When we initially saw L.D., he asked us to evaluate his erectile impotence. We found that the blood pressures in his penis and his feet were normal, but that the nerve reflexes in the pelvic region were grossly impaired. L.D.’s comments refer in part to this problem.
“I’m a fifty-nine-year-old male, married, with three children. Approximately four years ago, after being afflicted with Type II diabetes for about ten years, I noticed that I was always tired. In addition, I was quite irritable, short-tempered, and had difficulty maintaining concentration for extended periods of time. Otherwise I was feeling well, with the exception that I was becoming impotent, having difficulty maintaining an erection during sexual intercourse. At the time, I had no knowledge whether these conditions were interrelated.
“After Dr. Bernstein taught me to measure my blood sugars, I discovered that they averaged about 375 mg/dl, which is very high. With my new diet and small doses of insulin, they are now essentially normal all the time.
“I began to feel better than I had in years, both physically and mentally. The problem with impotency has improved. I maintain a daily check of my blood sugars and feel that my overall improvement has also helped me recuperate quickly from a total hip replacement without any complications.”