The challenge of sexual dysfunction for Diabetics is due to significant, long-term complications from a high level of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Over time, one of these complications results in sexual dysfunction.
A common problem for diabetic men is Erectile Dysfunction. This is the inability to get or keep an adequate erection for satisfying sexual activity. In some instances, the penis does not become hard at all and in other instances, it does not become hard enough to have sex.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, men who have diabetes are three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than other men. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 85% of Diabetic men will experience some degree of erectile dysfunction.
➡ And, the longer a man has had Diabetes, and the more severe the condition, the more likely they are to have trouble with erections.
Yet another challenge of sexual dysfunction for diabetics is the frustration, discouragement, and depression often experienced if it’s left untreated.
Unfortunately, however, many men are still unwilling to speak about it, even with their physicians, with ease.
It’s a good reason to “shop around” until you find a physician with whom you’re comfortable speaking openly and who takes an active role in giving you all the available information and options to help you in any way possible.
The good news, however, is that thanks to advancements in treatment protocols, it is no longer inevitable.
Physicians now have strategies to prevent this condition as well as treatment options, such as injections and oral medications for men who already have difficulties with sexual dysfunction.
However, men who have diabetes can suffer from this condition for other reasons.
➡ A man whose Diabetes is not strictly controlled will have excess sugar in the bloodstream that will damage the nerves and blood vessels responsible for erections.
This means that while the brain may be ready, the information is not relayed adequately to the sexual organ, which does not respond at all. In these cases, the recent advancements in drug therapy are not as successful in men who are facing the challenge of sexual dysfunction in diabetics.
➡ Men whose diabetes is poorly controlled can also have difficulty with suppressing the release of nitric oxide.
This is a natural chemical your body produces that relaxes muscles in the penis. This increases blood flow and allows you to get an erection in response to sexual stimulation.
However…although men are more likely to be identified as having sexual problems with their diabetes, both men and women can develop problems because of the damage to nerves and small blood vessels.
The reason for the sexual dysfunction is the same, the damage to the nerve endings and blood vessels due to the high levels of glucose in the blood system.
Research into sexual problems for women with diabetes is very limited at this point.
➡ Some estimate that between 18 and 27% of women will experience some type of sexual dysfunction, such as decreased lubrication, painful intercourse, lack of sexual desire and decreased or absent response.
Decreased or absent sexual response can include:
- The inability to become or stay aroused.
- It can also mean that the woman has reduced or no sensation in the genital area with the constant or occasional inability to reach orgasm.
Women who have difficulty with lubrication can buy prescription or over-the-counter vaginal lubricants.
➡ There are also techniques used to treat decreased sexual responses which can include changes in position and many types of stimulation during sexual relations.
➡ Some women also find that using Kegel exercises can improve the sexual response. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
And finally, there are studies now underway for drug treatment specifically designed for women who are suffering from sexual dysfunction as a result of diabetes.
If you have not yet been medically diagnosed as having Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes Type 2, it’s a good time to be informed about these conditions and how to manage them and prevent damage to your body systems.