Assessment of erectile dysfunction in diabetic patients

Int J Androl. 2009 Apr;32(2):176-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2008.00873.x. Epub 2008 Feb 20.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) aetiology is multifactorial, including endocrine, neurological, vascular, systemic disease, local penile disorders, nutrition, psychogenic factors, and drug-related. This study was performed to compare the relevant comprehensive biochemical parameters as well as the clinical characteristics in diabetic ED and healthy control subjects and to assess the occurrence of penile neuropathy in diabetic patients and thus the relationship between ED and diabetes. A total of 56 patients accepted to undergo assessment for penile vasculature using intracavernosal injection and colour Doppler ultrasonography. Of the 56 diabetic patients, 38 patients were found with normal blood flow and thus they were considered as the diabetic-ED group, whereas, ED diabetic patients with an arteriogenic component were excluded. These patients with an age range between 17 and 58 years, complaining of ED, with duration of diabetic illness ranging from 2 to 15 years. The Control group comprised of 30 healthy subject aged between 19 and 55 years. Peripheral venous levels of testosterone, prolactin, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), malondialdehyde and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA(1)c) were obtained in all subjects. Valsalva manoeuvre and neurophysiological tests were also determined. Testosterone, prolactine, FSH, LH, and TSH hormones of the diabetic patients were not significantly different from those of the control group. Diabetic patients with ED have higher HbA(1)c and oxidative stress levels while the R-R ratio was significantly decreased. Bulbocavernosus reflex latency was significantly prolonged, whereas its amplitude, the conduction velocity and amplitude of dorsal nerve of penis were significantly reduced in the diabetic patients. We concluded that although ED is a multifactorial disorder, yet, the present study revealed that in ED patients without arteriogenic ED a neurogenic component is present. Furthermore, the complex effect of the Valsalva manoeuvre on cardiovascular function is the basis of its usefulness as a measure of autonomic function. Thus, it can be of value in the diagnosis of ED although these hypotheses require follow-up in a large study cohort.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Erectile Dysfunction / blood
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood
  • Humans
  • Impotence, Vasculogenic / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Penis / blood supply
  • Penis / diagnostic imaging
  • Penis / innervation
  • Penis / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Young Adult


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Malondialdehyde