People with diabetes (both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes) often experience sexual problems. Experts say that about 50% of men and 25% of women may develop sexual problems. In extreme cases there can be loss of sexual desire.
Diabetes is known to cause damage to the nervous system (known as diabetic neuropathy). Diabetic neuropathy can cause damage the erectile tissue and as a result the person cannot achieve or maintain an erection. According to studies about 33% of men with diabetes suffer from erectile dysfunction. But the problem can be prevented by strict control of blood sugar through diet, exercise, pills and insulin injections. In most men minor sexual problems recede and they are able to achieve and maintain an erection.
In women diabetes can cause recurrent fungal vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina due to yeast). Secondary bacterial infection can occur following yeast infection. Sex can become painful in women with vaginitis. Other symptoms of vaginitis include itching or burning sensations. Women with diabetes are prone to develop recurrent cystitis as well. Diabetic neuropathy in women can affect the clitoris and this can lead to reduce sexual stimulation and desire.
If you experience sexual problems discuss it with your doctor. If needed your doctor will prescribe medications.
Like all other complications of diabetes sexual problems can be prevented by;
Dr Poonam Sachdeva, our in-house medical expert talks about the why what and how in diabetes.
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