Author: Steven Kugler, MD

Maintaining Healthy Bladder Function

Maintaining a healthy bladder can be hard when you have diabetes. Bladder problems are common as a result of the aging process. Diabetes makes these problems appear at an earlier onset and often with more severity. By keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol under control, and stopping smoking, you can lower your risk of these problems. The urinary bladder is a muscular reservoir for urine that responds by contraction to nerve impulses from the brain and spinal cord as well as its own intrinsic mechanisms. Complications associated with diabetes, spinal cord injuries, spinal bifida (congenital), multiple sclerosis, stroke and other more rare neurologic disorders can result in the following bladder problems: Overactive bladder Neurogenic bladder (poor emptying or retention) Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) These problems can significantly affect ones quality of life. Overactive Bladder This abnormality results in a small capacity bladder with frequent urges and often urinary incontinence (wetting). This occurs in both men and women with diabetes, stroke and intrinsic diseases of the bladder. Because the bladder has decreased capacity, the most effective treatments are medications that will increase capacity by relaxing the bladder muscle. If these are not effective, adult diapers may be necessary in females and external condom catheters can be used in males. Neurogenic Bladder This abnormality will result in a poorly emptying bladder or even urinary retention. The symptoms would be...

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Diabetes & Sexual Health

Because glucose is the main energy source for your muscles, nerves and blood vessels, healthy blood sugar levels will help maintain healthy biological functions. The longer you have diabetes and the less control you have over your blood glucose, the higher the risk of complications. Sexual dysfunction is a complication that results from damage to the blood vessels and nerves that supply the sexual organs. Lifestyle modifications may be necessary to optimize sexual health. These would include healthy diet and exercise, blood pressure and cholesterol control, smoking cessation, limiting alcohol consumption, and finally stress management. Sexual dysfunction refers to the interference with sexual performance. Diabetes can affect sexual function in men and women. In men, it can cause erectile dysfunction (ED), ejaculatory abnormalities and hypogonadism (low testosterone levels). In women, it can cause vaginal dryness, yeast infections, pain and lack of desire. ED is the inability to obtain or maintain an erection sufficient to achieve vaginal penetration. In order to better understand ED, it is helpful to understand the mechanism by which an erection occurs. With some form of stimulation, the brain sends messages via the spinal cord and autonomic nerves to the local nerves and blood vessels of the penis. This occurs in environment of normal male hormone (testosterone) in the blood. As a result of this, blood flows into the spongy tissue of the penis causing engorgement...

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