How Diabetes Can Affect the Bedroom – Women: Sexual intimacy is already a delicate enough topic without adding medical issues that may adversely affect the enjoyment and spontaneity. For women who have diabetes there can be several issues that may need to be addressed for enjoyable intimacy to take place.
A report as early as 1986 in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine indicated, “The more frequently reported sexual problems were inhibited sexual excitement, inhibited sexual desire, and dyspareunia (vaginal pain). Diabetic women with sexual dysfunction were more depressed, more stereotyped in their sex-role definitions, and less satisfied in their sexual relationships than those without sexual dysfunction. The two groups did not differ in metabolic control, insulin dose, duration of diabetes, or frequency of diabetic complications (e.g., neuropathy, etc.). Results suggest that diabetes may be associated with inhibited sexual excitement and dyspareunia in women.”
This report pointed out that just under half of the diabetic women surveyed indicated problems with sexual dysfunction.
More than two decades have passed since the release of this report and we now know much more about some of the problems diabetic women face. We also know a few remedies that may be available. Let’s take a look.
Circulation issues. When diabetes is not managed or controlled well it can impact blood flow to many areas of the body including the vagina. These circulatory issues can affect typical arousal women experience previous to sexual activity.
Chronic yeast infections. The presence of sustained high blood sugar can result in chronic yeast infections and subsequent vaginal tenderness. This can also contribute to a decline in intimacy interest.
Sexual neuropathy. Damage to nerves in and around the vagina can make it difficult for women to enjoy sex. It may be uncomfortable, lack personal pleasure or simply feel as if it is an unenjoyable duty. A condition known as neurogenic bladder can also be problematic because nerve damage within the bladder leads to incontinence. This can be an added complication to physical intimacy.
A state of depression. Diabetes and depression often go hand in hand. Performance anxiety is exacerbated by depression, which is compounded further by sexual side effects related to the use of depression meds. If you are being treated for depression you should know there might be alternative medications that do not carry as many side effects.
Persistent dryness. Circulation issues can contribute to vaginal dryness that can lead to discomfort and a reduced interest in sexual activity. There are hormone replacement therapies that are available, however your doctor may simply suggest self applied lubricants.
It should be noted that researchers viewed both psychological discomfort as well as physical issues when it comes to sexual dysfunction among diabetic women. Additionally research seems to indicate a stronger incidence of sexual dysfunction among those with Type 1 diabetes.
Many reports indicate this is one of the least explored issues affecting diabetics. The good news is this oversight is being corrected. New studies and remedies are being reviewed in an effort to bring sexual enjoyment back to the lives of diabetic women and their partners.