How Diabetes is Linked to Sexual Problems in Men and Women
Diabetes is a chronic condition, and it affects sex life in both direct and indirect ways.
- The direct ways are where there is a physiological change like vaginal dryness, incontinence, reduced libido, and retrograde ejaculation.
- Indirect factors are the stress of diabetic management, reduced energy levels, inactive lifestyle, and other health conditions that need to be taken care of.
Diabetes often develops with a set of other conditions – common ones being:
- Skin problems
In addition, one has to deal with the emotional aspects of anxiety and depression. Diabetes can be very stressful, leading to an overall lack of energy which is essential for good sex life. This can be very frustrating if one of the couples is diabetic, and they had a good happy sex life until then.
Sexual Problems Due to Diabetes in Men
Diabetes affects all body systems including the circulatory and the nervous system. This leads to two major problems in men’s sex life:
- Erectile dysfunction: Commonly known as ED, this is due to reduced testosterone and affects almost 50% of men with diabetes. In fact, many cases of diabetes get diagnosed when a patient complains of ED. This is a direct result of nerve and blood supply affected as a result of diabetes.
- Retrograde ejaculation: Retrograde ejaculation is when the ejaculation happens in the reverse direction, which also does not allow for good sex life.
In addition, there is the stress of regularly managing diabetes with diet and lifestyle changes which can also take a toll, leading to a lack of interest.
Sexual Problems due to Diabetes in Women
Again, the nerve supply and blood supply are affected leading to a lack of libido. Therefore, women, in general, lose interest in sex and may not be as interested as before. In addition, when diagnosed in the later years, women also experience urinary incontinence which also adds to the problem. The vaginal mucosa gets increasingly dry, which further adds to the lack of libido, as vaginal dryness can cause painful sex which further adds to a lack of interest. It is not an isolated issue but a whole lot of them, each closely interlinked to the other.
Ways to Manage Sex Problems During Diabetes
Though initially, it can be very taxing, diabetes is a chronic condition and there are ways to manage the associated problems, including sex life.
- The first and most important aspect would be to talk to your partner and your doctor about the problem.
- Improve vaginal lubrication using artificial methods.
- Hormonal supplements can improve libido and reduce dryness.
- Keeping an active lifestyle and eating healthy is essential to maintain good energy levels.
- Check with your doctor about ways to manage urinary incontinence.
Diabetes does have a significant impact on one’s sex life, but it is equally important to continue to have an active sex life even after diabetes so that overall quality of life and relationship is not affected.