When one is diagnosed with a chronic condition like diabetes, one’ sexual needs and well-being take a back seat. Although both men and women can suffer from it, diabetic women experience a huge blow to their sexual health. Several long-term studies have proved that diabetic women are more prone to reduced cardiovascular fitness.
They also become very vulnerable to diabetic cataract and associated blindness. Many women don’t regulate their diets and lifestyles as they value the health of their family members more than their own. This contributes higher chances of neuromuscular complications and depression developing in them.1
Symptoms Of Sexual Dysfunction In Women
The signs of sexual dysfunction are women are mostly psychological and less physical in nature. Many women diagnosed with diabetes claim that their biggest concern is their dip in libido. The other symptoms are as follows:2
- Vaginal dryness and irritation before and during intercourse.
- Inability to get aroused or climax during the act.
- Vaginal constriction causes discomfort during coitus.
- Pain during and following intercourse.
Impact Of Diabetes On Women’s Sexual Well-being
The above symptoms can develop as side-effects of medications for diabetes. In women with diabetic neuropathy, the nerves in the erogenous zones and many other sites in the body damage with time. This can lead to the inability to arouse, climax and enjoy the intercourse without discomfort.
Diabetes can cause constriction of blood vessels which can lead to poor blood flow to the genital area leading to dryness. Studies have proved that diabetic women frequently suffer from urinary tract and vaginal infections. Progressive nerve damage can make holding urine hard. Incontinence is also an embarrassing reason why women lose interest in sex.3
Getting Pregnant With Diabetes
You can have a perfectly healthy pregnancy in spite of being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, provided that you take meticulous care of your overall health.
If you are trying to conceive, discuss with your gynecologist and make diet and lifestyle modifications to keep your blood sugar levels within control.
On the other hand, if you are already pregnant remember to keep your blood sugar levels well within control in order to prevent health risks in your baby. Infants born to mothers with uncontrolled blood sugar are more likely to suffer from cognitive impairments, developmental delays, and high blood pressure.4
Living Life Well Despite Diabetes
It’s only natural to feel frustrated as you go through the sexual dysfunctional problems that occur with diabetes. Many women adopt abstinence in order to cope with the changes. It’s important that you understand that life is an experience and one that should be lived well. Here are some tips on how you can be proactive about leading a life with diabetes without compromising your sexual satisfaction.
- Keep your energy levels upbeat by adopting an exercise routine like dancing and running.
- Practice deep breathing techniques, meditation and yoga to destress yourself.
- During the act, use a lubricant to overcome vaginal dryness.
- Quit drinking and smoking.
- Do shared activities like a massage, sports or common hobbies with your significant other to rekindle your relationship
- Maintain good intimate hygiene to keep any infections at bay.
- Follow a strict diet that is high in nutrient-dense foods with low glycemic index.
- Get your blood sugar testing done periodically to keep track of your condition.
If you are in a relationship, discuss your issues with sexuality openly with your significant other. An understanding partner can be your pillar of strength in managing life with diabetes. If you feel your sexual health is not responding to your lifestyle modifications, it’s highly recommended that you meet the doctor for specific treatment. Stay healthy and communicate your health issues with your doctor so that early interventions can be done without delay.
|↑1||Siddiqui, Muhammad A., Mannan F. Khan, and Thomas E. Carline. “Gender differences in living with diabetes mellitus.” Materia socio-medica 25, no. 2 (2013): 140.|
|↑2||Bal, Meltem Demirgöz, Sema Dereli Yılmaz, Selda Gedik Çelik, Nevin Dinçağ, Nezihe Kızılkaya Beji, and Önay Yalçın. “Does the diabetes of type 2 affect the sexual functions of women?.” Journal of sex & marital therapy 41, no. 1 (2015): 107-113.|
|↑4||Hall, David, M. Du Toit, Deidre Mason, and Magda Conradie. “Diabetes mellitus in pregnancy, still changing.” Journal of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa 20, no. 3 (2015): 108-114.|