Reversing Diabetes | Health Blog

Date: 09/28/2010    Written by: Jon Barron

Diabetes Can Impair Sexual Desire

Diabetes, Sex

A recent study by Chicago Medical Center researchers has revealed that for adults, diabetes can impair sexual desire, cause erectile dysfunctions, and lead to other sexual health problems. Nearly 2,000 subjects aged 57 to 85 were part of the study, which found that 70% of male participants and 62% of female participants still engaged in sexual activities two or three times each month.

The men and women in the study have sex as frequently as their non-diabetic peers. However, they are more likely to experience complications. The study concluded that:

  • Men with diabetes are more likely to lack sexual interest
  • Men with diabetes are more likely to suffer from ED
  • Women with diabetes are more likely to have problems reaching orgasm
  • Men with diabetes are more likely climax too quickly or not at all
  • Only 19% of women with diabetes talk to their doctors about sexual problems
  • Only 47% of men with diabetes talk to their doctors about sexual problems
  • More men than women are sexually active

Women suffer more sexual side effects as a result of being diabetic than men do. The list of side effects includes blood sugar fluctuation around the time of their period, vaginal dryness, and higher risk of infections. Overall these things and associated feelings of depression can lead to a decreased appetite for sex.

With that in mind, women should make a point of eating regularly to stabilize their blood sugar. They should avoid things like caffeine and alcohol that are known to have a significant impact on mood. Also, women who experience vaginal dryness should try a water-based personal lubricant. However, continued dryness can be a sign that estrogen levels are low and doctors may prescribe a cream or suggest hormone replacement therapy for some of their patients.

Men who have diabetes can have trouble performing sexually, too. The male sexual response involves a number of body systems that can all be negatively impacted by a chronic disease like diabetes. With that in mind, it is important to note whether problems with erectile dysfunction are random or steadily progressive over time. The former indicates a psychological component; the latter a physical cause.

Besides being fun, having sex is a vigorous activity that has the potential to burn a lot of calories. That means sex is a lot like exercise in that it can put diabetics at risk for hypoglycemia. That's not exactly a turn-on. To avoid hypoglycemia and keep your blood sugar stable, take your readings before and after you have sex. You might find it helpful to have a sugary drink or a snack before the fun begins. Your doctor may also suggest tweaking your insulin when the mood turns amorous. Or if you find that all of these preparations kind of kill the spontaneity of the moment, you can try a more holistic, natural approach that goes to the cause of the disease, rather than merely managing the symptoms.

You can't sweep sexual problems under the rug. Problems like decreased sexual desire can have a serious impact on your partner as well. What you experience as a psychological or physical consequence of your diabetes may feel a lot like rejection or loss of affection and desire for your partner. Don't leave them in the dark about your sexual side effects, and be proactive in resolving the problems.


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    Submitted by Susan Brown on
    November 12, 2010 - 3:19pm

    I am worried about the constant taking of medication prescribed by my GP for Type 2 Diabetes. I have recently discovered a natural product made from Aloe Vera which I am taking by mouth for well being. I am wondering if this is good for my condition or bad. If it is bad, is there another natural remedy which you could recommend? If it is good, then what other types of natural remedy could you suggest for other problems? I have been diagnosed and treated for four years and am really worried about the medication which has recently been increased. Please help if you are able.

    Submitted by Ida J. on
    November 12, 2010 - 3:20pm

    Susan I totally understand how you feel. I have been in the exact same situation myself. Fearing being overmedicated and wondering if there are any alternatives. I finally figured out that no one is going to help me but ME. That mainstream medicine is not looking out for anyone’s interests but their own.

    So I began to educate myself. Learn everything I could so I could make the best decisions for myself. I found lots of alternative sources of information like this wonderful website and like this really insightful presentation that my best friend forwarded to me (I found it gave a lot of really great insightful information that I haven’t found elsewhere.)

    Sadly, with the state of medicine today we HAVE to be our own best advocate and we have to educate ourselves. Its so important to know your options and know the limitations of medicine as well as the benefits. The bottom line is you have to make sure you take charge of our own health and your own recovery. Be your OWN best friend. Good luck!

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