Although not as common as erectile dysfunction, sexual problems due to diabetes can affect women too. More than a third of women with diabetes may experience sexual dysfunction related to their disease, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
In a separate 2005 study, researchers in Turkey used questionnaires to evaluate sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain during intercourse among 127 married women. The sample included 21 women with type 1 diabetes, 50 with type 2 diabetes, and 56 women without diabetes. Overall, 71% of the women with type 1 and 42% of the women with type 2 experienced sexual dysfunction, versus 37% in the control group.
Symptoms of female sexual dysfunction include:
- Decreased or total lack of interest in sexual relations
- Decreased or no sensation in the genital area
- Constant or occasional inability to reach orgasm
- Dryness in the vaginal area, leading to pain or discomfort during sexual relations
Diabetes control is crucial for avoiding or minimizing sexual problems.High blood sugar, for example, can damage the blood vessels and nerves that make intercourse enjoyable.
Nerve damage may make it difficult or impossible for women to achieve orgasm.
For men, being overweight or having high cholesterol or high blood pressure can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
To lower your risk of sexual and urological problems, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) recommends:
Keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol in check
Being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight