Sex is an important part in any relationship and an unfulfilled sex life can lead to feelings of rejection and guilt. However, up to 50% of men and 25% of women may experience some kind of sexual problems or loss of sexual desire as a result of diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes one’s blood sugar level to become too high, making the body unable to use it properly. This is because the pancreas located in the abdomen is unable to produce any or not enough insulin to help sugar (used as energy) enter your body’s cells. There are two types of diabetes that can affect both men and women in adverse ways.
Having a chronic disease can cause anxiety, which can result in sexual dysfunction. However, sexual dysfunction is more common in those with poorly controlled diabetes. Effects can damage the blood vessels and the nervous system causing reduced blood flow and loss of sensation in the sexual organs. This can contribute to vaginal dryness in women and erection difficulties in men. Other factors contributed to diabetes such as heart disease and depression can increase the chances of sexual dysfunction.
Having diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you will automatically develop sexual dysfunction. However, over half of all men with diabetes may be affected and the possibility of problems increases with age. While women with diabetes are twice as likely to experience problems as those without.
Diabetes can be related to fatigue and can interfere with a person’s sleep causing a person to feel constantly drained from the effort of coping. Both high and low blood glucose can change a person’s mood, energy level and interest in sex.
Common effects in women with Type 2 Diabetes:
- Difficulty with lubrication
Experience fewer orgasms
Avoidance of sex
Common effects in men with Type 2 Diabetes:
- Erectile dysfunction (stems from problems caused by poor long-term blood sugar control that causes damaged nerves and blood vessels).
Lack of sexual desire
- Less sexually satisfied
Problems around sexual dysfunction are often complex. If you think your sex drive is stalled, check that your diabetes are in control and take steps to lower your blood glucose levels.
Steps to reduce sexual complications:
- There’s a lot you can do on your own to improve your sex life regardless of your condition. For women, the most common symptom will be vaginal dryness. To help reduce persistent dryness, adding a lube such as Durex Sensilube will help replace moisture that has been lost due to diabetes related symptoms.
- Being overweight can contribute to loss of libido. A recent study from Duke University has shown that shedding about 17.5% of body weight can boost self-esteem and improve sexual functioning. So if you’re looking for a way to help keep diabetes under control while improving your appearance, losing weight can increase your health significantly.