Sexual Health Q&A

Can testosterone replacement therapy help men with type 2 diabetes?

It’s possible.

Research has shown that between 40% and 50% of diabetic men have low testosterone. Symptoms of low testosterone include decreased muscle mass, fatigue, changes in mood, depression, and anxiety. There are also sexual symptoms, most notably diminished sex drive and erectile dysfunction.

A recent study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine investigated the role of testosterone replacement therapy for diabetic men. The researchers used a type of testosterone called long-acting testosterone undecanoate.

In the first part of the study, 199 diabetic men with low testosterone were divided into two groups. One group received testosterone replacement therapy. The other group received a placebo.

After 30 weeks, the men who took testosterone saw some improvements in their erections, orgasms, and sexual desire. They were more satisfied with intercourse and with their sexual activities overall.

Also at this time, 46% of the men who took testosterone felt that their health had improved with treatment. Seventeen percent of the men in the placebo group felt that way.

At this point, the men were given the option of continuing their treatment for another 52 weeks. One hundred six men decided to move forward. At the end of that time, 70% of all the men felt that their health had improved.

There were some exceptions, however. Men who were diagnosed with depression at the start of the study did not have as much improvement. Obese men did not benefit as much either.

The authors of the study stressed the importance of screening for low testosterone and depression in men with type 2 diabetes. Testosterone replacement therapy could be a way to alleviate symptoms, including sexual ones, and improve quality of life.

Diabetic men who are concerned about low testosterone should see their doctor.