Losing a moderate amount of weight can significantly improve sexual function of men with type 2 diabetes

08/16/2011
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common causes of erectile dysfunction in men, but new research suggests that simply losing a few extra pounds can help individuals regain their former levels of sexual function, as well as alleviate symptoms of incontinence.

The findings, which were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, suggest a relatively simple solution to a difficult problem. Doctors have known for years that type 2 diabetes can impair sexual function in men. Traditional treatments have focused on the symptoms of sexual dysfunction without doing much about the causes of these problems.

However, after an eight-week study that tracked the progress of 31 overweight men with diabetes through a weight loss program, researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia showed that losing just a few pounds can result in significant improvements in sexual function.



The results indicated that those who lost just 5 percent of their total body mass were able to overcome their sexual difficulties and those who suffered from incontinence saw improvements in their urinary tract health.



The importance of these findings extends beyond helping men improve their sexual and urinary function, the researchers said. These things are considered markers of cardio-metabolic health, and, when they improve, it is reasonable to assume that these other areas of a man's well-being are getting better.

"The evidence that improvement can be achieved by modest weight loss, in particular when a diet is of high nutritional quality, is of public health significance in framing public health messages that resonate with men," said Gary Wittert, who led the investigation.

Additionally, the findings show that non-pharmaceutical approaches to improving sexual function may produce effective results. This could be important for men who may already be on a number of other medications to control their type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular problems.