Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is a problem for some men, but it is more common in men with type 1 diabetes. You may experience short-term episodes of impotence, but for about one in 10 men the problem may continue. You may also experience problems with their libido.

Impotence can be caused by physical and psychological reasons, such as stress, performance anxiety, work or family pressures, or drinking too much alcohol. It can also be due to chronically high blood glucose levels.

The reasons why you are more prone to problems with impotence are not fully understood. Some people with type 1 diabetes suffer from hardened arteries and this may contribute to impotence by restricting the flow of blood to the penis. Nerve damage may also play a role.

Keeping your blood glucose levels close to the normal range can help reduce the chance of these problems occurring. But if you do experience problems with your sexual function you should speak with your diabetes team or GP, as there are many treatment alternatives for decreased libido and impotence, including counselling, oral or injectable drugs, or surgery.