For an oversexed culture that isn’t afraid to push boundaries on TV, in movies, on the radio and in books and magazines, we’re awfully shy about sex when it comes to our health. In fact, even though people with diabetes are at a higher risk for sexual problems, a study in Diabetes Care found that only about half of all men with diabetes and 19 percent of women with diabetes have broached the topic with a doctor.
It’s why the newly diagnosed quickly learn about their risk for eye, nerve, kidney and heart complications, but hardly ever hear how diabetes affects sexual health. It is important for people to be open and honest with their doctors regarding all health concerns-even problems with sexual function. Problems with sexual performance and satisfaction can signal other health issues.
Many men with erectile dysfunction, for instance, later learn that they have diabetes. For people who already have diabetes, sexual problems can indicate nerve damage, blocked arteries, and even out-of-whack hormones. Though there’s a lot yet to learn about sexual dysfunction in people with diabetes, researchers are certain of one thing: Chronic high blood glucose (or blood sugar) is behind many sexual problems people face, and the first line of action is to improve glucose control.
What’s the deal with low libido?
Low libido, or sexual desire, is a real problem-and one that affects people with diabetes more than those without. Men and women experience low libido as a result of poorly managed diabetes. If your sex drive is stalled, first look to your diabetes management and take steps to lower your blood glucose levels. Then consider your medications. Certain drugs, such as antidepressants, can lower sexual desire, so be sure to talk to your doctor.
Researchers theorize that inflammation pen desire. Sexual desire is a brain-driven event, so if inflammatory molecules cross the blood-brain barrier and circulate in the area where there is sexual desire, then it’s plausible the desire for sex may be affected. Another possible culprit: low testosterone, which often affects men and women with diabetes.
Studies have shown that men with diabetes, especially those who have type 2 or are overweight, or both, have about twice the risk of low testosterone as their peers without the disease, which can affect a man’s passion for sex. When low testosterone free lesbian hookup dating app is treated through losing weight and/or testosterone therapy, many men have a renewed desire for sex.
Treating women isn’t quite as simple. (Get used to hearing that.) Some studies suggest that taking testosterone can increase sexual desire in women-an article in the New England Journal of Medicine found that post-menopausal women had a greater sexual appetite after taking testosterone for almost six months-but the treatment is still understudied, particularly its long-term effects on women’s health. Not only that, but it’s hard for researchers to determine whether a particular woman’s low libido is a result of diabetes, emotional issues or something else entirely because low libido is common in women regardless of the presence of diabetes.
What about arousal?
There’s a difference between desire and arousal. First, sexual desire must occur; then the body responds, signaling arousal. That is, if everything’s working properly. Both men and women with diabetes may feel desire but struggle with arousal problems, though the mechanisms behind this sexual dysfunction are better studied and understood in men. For both men and women, a good place to start looking for possible causes is your medicine cabinet. Some blood pressure-lowering medications, for instance, can contribute to erectile dysfunction. When meds aren’t behind a person’s hampered arousal, diabetes e. Poor diabetes management over time can damage the blood vessels and nerves-as it does in heart disease and neuropathy (nerve damage)-that make arousal possible.