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What Impact Does Diabetes Have On Your Sexual Health?

Diabetes is a condition that changes the kind of food a person eats. Its effect is felt on their general well-being plus sexual health.

A diabetic person suffers the inability to process insulin in their body, leading to an increase in blood sugar level. This condition causes trigger complications like cardiovascular issues and nerve damage as time goes on.

Mentally, diabetic patients also have issues. Their self-esteem is also dealt a blow, and all of these take a toll on sexual health.

Effect of diabetes on women

The nerves in the body can be harmed due to an increase in blood sugar levels. Women are impacted in the following ways:

  • Their ability to feel sexually stimulated and aroused
  • The chances of the vagina being lubricated naturally

As a result, sex may become a painful experience and reaching orgasm may become difficult.

In menopausal women, diabetes may cause an unexpected lowering of sugar in the blood.

Consequently, a woman’s sexual health is impacted by signs of reduced blood sugar while having sex. A woman experiencing this may see sexual activity as an unpleasurable encounter – a stress.

Before having sex, a woman may need to check her blood sugar levels.

Again, diabetic women have a higher risk of developing cystitis, urinary tract infections (UTI) and thrush. And, of course, anyone with these conditions cannot find sex to be enjoyable.

You can get an STI screening and learn more about diabetes and how women are affected at Private GPs London.

Effect of diabetes on men

From studies, diabetic men sometimes have lower testosterone levels that impact their libido (sexual desire).

The main challenge that diabetes poses to men is the problem with attaining or sustaining an erection – a condition called erectile dysfunction (ED).

An erection is possible in a man when blood flow to the penis is sufficient. But what diabetes does is impair the blood vessels, which limits how much blood gets to the penis.

Nerve damage is another effect of diabetes in men. This is the cause of poor erection strength.

Often associated with type 2 diabetes is obesity which is a risk factor of erectile dysfunction, the same way as a past surgery on the prostate or bladder.

Studies show that 10 to 20% of ED are tied to poor self-esteem, stress, fear of sexual incompetence, and other mental health problems. All these can impact someone with diabetes.

You can learn more about the specific impact of diabetes in men at Private GPs London.

Effect of diabetes on both men and women

Tiredness is a symptom common with diabetic persons. Again, many health concerns may bombard diabetics due to complications, plus a great deal of time is put into their health management. The entirety of these conditions can lower one’s libido.

Working with an Insulin pump

Certain diabetic people carry a small pump that gives the body insulin on their body. This device can keep their sugar level under control and enjoy sex autonomously.

Self-consciousness may come to the fore with the use of this pump. Again, the wearer may be scared the pump might fall off during sex.

According to a source, it’s not dangerous to have the pump disconnected for about an hour during sex, and a pump getting detached isn’t a big deal.

But the wearer needs to reconnect the pump within 45 to 60 minutes.

Telling a new partner that you have diabetes at the start of the relationship will make them understand you better and lower the potential of being embarrassed.

Psychological effect

  • Anxiety
  • Worries over obesity
  • Alterations in self-image
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Zero self-esteem


For those having mental health concerns triggered by diabetes, some medications can help. These meds are referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), with examples like Zoloft and Prozac.

People taking this medication may experience improvement in depression; however, their sexual desire may reduce.

Treating diabetes

Since diabetes damage the nerves, it can be prevented by keeping up a healthy level of blood sugar so that the issues that come from the condition, including sexual health concerns, can be limited.

Blood sugar levels can be managed using insulin, medications, and regular checks on blood sugar levels.

Treating diabetes in men

Some medications can be prescribed by the doctor that will improve the flow of blood so that gaining an erection won’t be a problem for a man.

Some of these medications are:

  • Sildenafil (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Avanafil (Stendra)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra)

Despite how functional these drugs are, not every man may use them, especially men with heart conditions or high blood pressure.

Learn more about these medications at Private GPs London.

Again, there are mechanical methods of improving blood flow to the penis which might work for some men. These include the use of injections and vacuum pumps.

Penile surgery, which involves placing an implant, is another method some men may use to achieve a stronger erection.

Treating diabetes in women

Since vaginal dryness is common with diabetic women, the area may be lubricated with a water-based lubricant before having sex – to make it more pleasurable and pain-free.

Hormone replacement therapies

The libido of both men and women can get better with hormone replacement therapies.

Bear in mind that these therapies may have side effects, so it’s critical to speak with your doctor about it before taking any drugs.

A 2016 study reveals no definite conclusion yet on how a person’s insulin sensitivity is impacted by hormone therapy, particularly when they are experiencing menopause.

How lifestyle can help

Some health tips that can help include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Keeping up a healthy weight

Adopting these measures can see significant changes in general well-being and better self-esteem.

Kegel exercises

For postmenopausal women, their sexual response may come alive again with engagements via exercising their pelvic floor muscles – an activity best described as Kegel exercises.

Here is a guide on how to spot and exercise the pelvic muscles:

  • Spot the muscles of the pelvis by sitting on the toilet and attempting to prevent a stream of urine. Alternatively, you can put a finger inside the vagina and contract the muscles of the vagina around it. These muscles are the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Constrict the muscles and keep them that way. Begin by holding the muscles for 3 seconds and releasing them for the next 3 seconds. Repeat this procedure 10 times successively, should it be possible.
  • Do this exercise a minimum of two times a day and increase muscle contraction time to 5 seconds.

Men can also do Kegels. This can help them control their ejaculation and limit the number of incontinence times.

Lowering stress levels

Apart from getting an STD screening London to know what infections diabetes may have caused and how to treat them, engaging in activities that put stress down can help diabetic improve their health.

Some stress-relieving activities are:

  • Exercising
  • Meditation
  • Listening to music
  • Reading a book

Again, creating time to do what you enjoy most can really take the stress off diabetic persons.

When should you get medical care?

Studies show that just 19 per cent of diabetic women and 47 per cent of diabetic men have opened up about their sexual health to their doctors.

But diabetes comes with sexual health issues. Also, studies have revealed that many diabetic men and women between the ages of 57 to 85 years had sex twice or thrice per week.

Those experiencing diabetes and would like to know how their sexual health is being affected should speak with their doctor or endocrinologist.

You may ask the following questions at your appointment:

  • How can I keep my diabetes under control?
  • Are there other health issues I have that may be a problem to my sexual health?
  • What drugs am I using that could be impeding my sexual health?

For cases of low self-esteem, the doctor may refer you to a therapist or counsellor. Couples may also get a counselling session together – it helps.

Take away

No one with diabetes whose sexual health is impacted should allow shame or embarrassment to swallow them up regardless of the prescribed treatment option.

The first step is to contact an experienced doctor and discuss your problems openly with your partner. This will help you achieve a healthy sex life and better health. We offer one of the best medical care to diabetic patients, so visit PrivateGPs.London to book an appointment now.

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