Chronic conditions like diabetes affects sex drive in multiple ways. It does not only affect the sex drive and can impact overall sexual health. Knowing its role in your sex life can help you understand the condition and make smarter decisions to control the damage.
Sex and Diabetes
Sex and diabetes may seem like unrelated words put together but they can be intertwined. Diabetes is a common health condition where the body cannot utilize or produce insulin, which can affect sugar levels. The sugar levels can go high or too low if not taken care of. The reasons for the condition could be multiple. Controlled sugar levels cause no major changes in the body, but uncontrolled blood sugar can wreak havoc and affect all bodily functions.
Diabetes can cause various changes in the body like diabetic neuropathy, and impaired blood circulation, and also affect the smooth muscles. Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels. The neural damage can cause numbness and lack of sensation. It can further cause problems with orgasms and arousal. Diabetes is often accompanied by other health conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, sleep apnea, and depression. All of these conditions on their own or in addition to diabetes can have ill effects on your health.
Effects On Women
Diabetes can cause problems with arousal and stimulation. It can also cause vaginal dryness and can be the reason for painful sex. Women might also find it harder to orgasm with high blood sugar levels. During menopause, they might experience a drop in blood sugar and need immediate treatment. Women also get more prone to infections like thrush and cystitis. Women with high blood sugar can also easily contract urinary tract infections (UTIs). Regular checking on sugar and other symptoms may make sexual intimacy a task and lower the pleasure for women. Sex and diabetes may not go very well for women due to various related problems.
Effects On Men
Diabetes can alter testosterone levels in men. High levels of blood glucose can affect the hormone in the brain and are responsible for signaling testicles to produce testosterone. It could lower the level of testosterone and can produce symptoms like low energy levels, irritability, mood swings, less concentration, and poor muscle strength. Diabetes can cause low libido by depleting testosterone levels.
Diabetes can also cause erectile dysfunction in men. Erectile dysfunction is a common sexual dysfunction and could be triggered by high blood sugar levels. Other risk factors that co-exist are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. These can be contributing factors to erectile dysfunction. High blood sugar levels can affect blood circulation, which limits the blood pumped to the penis at the time of an erection. It can also damage the neural tissue, which would cause problems with orgasms and sensations.
Retrograde ejaculation is also a complication for men with diabetes. In this situation, the semen gets back to the bladder instead of ejaculating out, hence the name. It is controlled by internal sphincter muscles, which are usually damaged due to high blood sugar levels.
Diabetic men are more likely to have Peyronie’s disease. The high blood sugar level can be responsible for scar tissue in the penis. This plaque could cause a curve in an erect penis which will lead to painful sexual intercourse.
Diabetes could also be a triggering factor for balanitis in men. Balanitis is characterized by itching, rash, swelling, redness, and discharge from the penis. It is also accompanied by pain while pulling back the foreskin. Increased levels of blood glucose can provide access to bacterial growth when there is urine trapped in the foreskin further causing balanitis.
Effects On Both Men and Women
Diabetes affects sex drive in both men and women. The low sex drive could be the result of depression, fatigue, side effects of medicines, low energy levels, stress, anxiety, or depression. Changes in sex drive can happen due to various physical and psychological factors and you should consult a sexologist if you face any problems with your sex life. The shift in sex drive can cause relationship problems and might introduce a sense of insecurity and doubt in a couple. Diabetes causes low libido but can be treated with the help of an expert.
One may require an insulin pump to control high blood sugar levels. Wearing a pump while going through the initial stages of a relationship can be a bummer and might make you a little hesitant. It is safe to remove the pump for about an hour, but you need to reattach it after sexual activity. It is better to talk about the pump with your partner to provide them with clarity and form a better understanding.
Many people with diabetes may fear sexual intimacy as they do not understand how it can affect their health. Sexual intercourse, however, is a form of exercise and should not stop you from having a good time with your partner. Sex and diabetes would not be major problems if you have control over the sugar levels. A diabetic individual can have a sudden drop in blood sugar level that can require sugar intake. Many individuals fear going into a hypo and avoid sexual intimacy for this reason. The best way around this is to keep a regular check on sugar levels and talk to your doctor about the drop in sugar levels and the best ways to control it.
Frequent urination is a common symptom of diabetes. Having to rush to the washroom innumerable times even at night might stop you from having sexual intimacy with your partner. High blood sugar levels over time can cause damage to the bladder muscles and cause urinary retention. Holding urine for too long in the bladder can further cause infections, urine leaks, and the feeling of a full bladder. You might even have trouble while being physically intimate due to a feeling of a full bladder which makes sex less enjoyable.
Diabetes affects sex drive due to all the above-said reasons. If you are not comfortable with your physical health, it is a natural reaction to be less inclined towards being sexually intimate with your partner. Other factors that could add to the situation are weight gain, being self-conscious, loneliness, depression, low self-esteem, and other changes in the body.
The treatment of diabetes on your sexual health will depend on the underlying condition. Controlling blood sugar levels remains of utmost importance, and you should consult a good endocrinologist to find the right treatment.
Diabetes affects sex drive and the treatment would depend on the causative agent. Leaning on a healthy lifestyle is the best resort to lead a healthy sex life.
Having erectile dysfunction and diabetes may not be an ideal situation, but you can consult a sexologist to find a suitable treatment. Do not take the infamous blue pill without consulting the specialist, as it can have severe side effects. The doctor will give you the medicine as per your physical and medical history. The sexologist can suggest treating erectile dysfunction with the help of pills, injections, vacuum pumps, shockwave therapy, and surgery if required. It is crucial to inform the doctor about diabetes to help him make an informed decision and to help you in the best way. These treatment strategies are capable of fighting erection issues and helping you lead a normal sex life.
Hormone replacement therapy can help those with hormonal problems. Additional hormone intake may have some side effects, and the doctor will make the best decision for you considering all the factors.
Vaginal dryness could be the reason for painful sex and can be encountered by the use of lubricants. There is a huge variety of lubricants available in the market. Do proper research or ask your sexologist for the best recommendation.
Other than medical treatments, work on your relationship. Make sincere efforts to improve your relationship and start by communicating with your partner. Let them know how you feel, what stops you from getting intimate with them, and what would you like them to do. Being honest will avoid miscommunication and help you both understand each other instead of playing neverending guessing games. You can try different ways of sexual stimulation if diabetes causes low libido. Spend more time stimulating each other and get in the mood to enjoy each other’s bodies. Introduce sex toys if you are comfortable and commit to trying new things for your relationship.
Sex and diabetes are interlinked, and working on the health part will automatically make your sex life better. Start by improving your diet and introducing an exercise regimen in your routine. Control your sugar intake and take medical help for diabetes. Along with that, stay away from smoking and excessive drinking. Work on your stress levels and improve the quality of your relationship.
Diabetes affects sex drive inevitably, and you can talk to an expert to find the solution. Sexual intimacy is the backbone of a relationship, and neglecting it for too long may end up creating a permanent gap. Talk to your doctor as soon as you notice any change in your sex drive.