Male Sexual Dysfunction in Diabetes Mellitus

  • Arnold MelmanEmail author
  • Barry Mason
  • Albert C. Leung
  • Michael E. DiSanto
Reference work entry


Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is defined as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual function. Based on these data and the US population projection for the year 2020 of more than 74 million men 45–84 years old, ED will affect more than 38 million men and millions more over the age of 84. Diabetic men have a more than threefold increase in risk of ED compared to their nondiabetic counterparts. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a common chronic disease affecting 285 million people and is expected to increase to 7.7% by 2030. Because both ED and DM are so prevalent, it is not surprising the two are associated. ED is reported to occur in more than 50% of men with diabetes. The penis is a complex vascular organ that requires the coordination of an initiated spinal reflex to a vascular process in which nerves, sinusoidal and vascular endothelium, and smooth muscle (SM) cells are involved to achieve satisfactory penile erection. In men with DM who have impaired erection, there is the inability to either obtain or maintain a state of penile rigidity sufficient for satisfactory intercourse. In those having DM with ED, there is a panoply of possible adverse effects on the neurological function, vascular (including smooth muscle and endothelium) supply, cell membranes, contractile proteins, and a myriad of neurotransmitters and second messengers that can interfere with the normal mechanism of erection. These potential mechanisms and modern therapies for ED are reviewed as a starting point for understanding the basis of this important physiological function.


Erectile dysfunction Endothelial Corpora cavernosal smooth muscle Contractile proteins Ion channels Maxi-k channel Contractile proteins Diabetes mellitus 



We would like to thank Sarah Collins, M.D., Urogynecology Fellow at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, for making valuable contributions in editing the text.

We also want to thank Kelvin Davies, Ph.D., Professor in the Department of Urology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, for his diagrammatic representation of SM physiology.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold Melman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Barry Mason
    • 2
  • Albert C. Leung
    • 3
  • Michael E. DiSanto
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of UrologyMontefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA
  2. 2.Department of UrologyKaiser PermanenteAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Flushing Hospital Medical CenterFlushingUSA
  4. 4.Biomedical Sciences and Surgery, Urology ResearchCooper Medical School of Rowan UniversityCamdenUSA

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