Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Some Weight Loss Improves Erections in Obese Men With Diabetes

Study: Losing 5% to 10% of Body Weight Over 8 Weeks Improved Sexual, Urinary Health

Weight Loss to Improve Sexual Health continued...

The average age of men in the study was 60. Study participants had an average BMI of 35, and the average length of time they had been diagnosed with diabetes was four to five years.

More than half the men in the study reported having symptoms of severe erectile dysfunction, and about one in three said they had at least moderately severe lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), including problems with frequency, urgency, weak stream, and incontinence.

The men were randomly assigned to either a low-calorie diet, where two daily meals were replaced by weight loss shakes, or to a higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate eating plan.

In the meal replacement plan, men got about 900 calories a day.

In the healthy eating plan, which focused on three meals of lean protein, five daily servings of vegetables, and two daily servings of whole grain carbohydrates and fruit, was designed to shave about 600 daily calories off what the men would normally eat. “We’re talking fresh lean meat, chicken, and fish,” Wittert says. “We’re not talking about processed meats, we’re not taking about fatty meats or very large portions.”

After eight weeks, the men on the low-calorie meal replacement diets were switched to the healthy eating plan, and all continued to be followed for a year.

Small Changes, Big Benefits

After eight weeks on the diets, the men on the low-calorie plan had lost about twice as much weight as the men on the healthy eating plan, 20 pounds vs. 11 pounds.

But they had similar improvements in erectile function, sexual desire, and urinary symptoms.

Wittert thinks the group on the healthy eating plan saw as much improvement as the low-calorie diet group, in part because they were getting more needed vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals.

“Part of the effect was related to weight loss but part of the effect is also, I think, related to the nutritional quality of the diet,” he says.

Many obese people, Wittert thinks, are, ironically, undernourished.

“You can eat large amounts of calories but not get adequate nutrients,” he says.

Of the 17 men with severe erectile dysfunction, Wittert says that after eight weeks, seven had improvements in their symptoms, with some achieving normal function. After a year, 25% had normal erectile function.

Similarly, urinary symptoms decreased significantly in both groups at eight weeks and continued to improve in the year that the men continued on the healthy eating plan. The more weight the men lost, the greater the improvements.

They also had better blood flow, improvements in markers of inflammation, and saw increases in testosterone, which is necessary for the production of healthy sperm and plays a role in sex drive and sexual performance.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections