Diabetes is a serious condition some people face in their lifetime. Diabetes refers to having high sugar levels in your bloodstream over a longer period of time. This means that diabetes is a chronic illness that affects various parts of your body and causes issues such as kidney disease, heart disease, and even loss of vision. While these are serious conditions that affect your body, diabetes is linked to causing problems in your sex life as well.
Sex is an important aspect of one’s life. Sexual dysfunction, or having issues in your sex life, can occur if you have diabetes. This does not mean that you are bound to get sexual dysfunction if you have diabetes; rather, you are at a higher risk of having sexual dysfunction due to diabetes. Men and women are both likely to face different sets of issues in how they have sex if they are diagnosed with diabetes. Before diving into how and why diabetes causes sexual dysfunction, it is always good to be more informed about what diabetes is.
What are the types of diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes, and they are Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 is commonly diagnosed in children and teens and is a chronic condition where the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is an essential hormone that is produced by the pancreas, and it is in charge of maintaining the blood sugar levels in the body as well as transferring it into the cells where it stores it for energy. When the body stops secreting insulin, you get diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This requires you to take insulin shots externally each and every day for you to survive.
Type 2 is commonly diagnosed in adults as well as teens and children. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes occurs after a longer period of time. People who have type 2 diabetes still produce insulin; however, it is not reactive as much, meaning that it cannot keep the blood sugar levels intact. Type 2 diabetes occurs when one has poor maintenance in their health, diet, and weight over a long period of time.
How does diabetes affect your sex life?
Now that you know what diabetes is, it is time to look into how it affects your sex life. People with diabetes have abnormal levels of blood sugar in their system, meaning that their blood vessels are always too exposed to high glucose levels. This causes the blood vessels and the nerves to be damaged over time, resulting in low blood flow and loss of sensation. As this affects the whole body, it affects your sexual organs too. Ultimately this means that you may feel a loss of sexual sensation, as well as difficulties in getting aroused.
It is important to notice that sexual dysfunction is not only caused by diabetes but by other factors as well. With age, people tend to face issues in how they have sex, and it is completely normal. People who have diabetes may have an increased risk of facing sexual dysfunction. The effects of diabetes on sex affect both men and women in different ways.
How does diabetes affect men’s sexual life?
Diabetes affects men’s sexuality in various ways. The biggest issue that men may develop due to diabetes is erectile dysfunction. In simple words, erectile dysfunction means finding difficulties in getting up your penis or keeping it for a longer period of time. This happens due to nerve and vessel damage as well as limited blood flow to the penis. Erectile dysfunction can occur due to other reasons that are not related to diabetes as well. Having erectile dysfunction may feel like a disappointment for both you and your partner; however, there are treatment options to better your condition. If you have this condition, do not hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider for a suitable treatment plan for you.
Men with diabetes are also more likely to suffer from STIs. Contracting STIs is unavoidable for anyone who does not use safety measures to prevent them. However, people with diabetes are more likely to develop an infection if they contract STIs.
Men with diabetes are also more likely to develop thrush during sex. Thrush is not a sexually transmitted infection; however, you can contract it during sex. Men with high blood sugar levels are more likely to develop it since the sugar levels provide a perfect place for the bacteria to multiply rapidly. Thrush will cause white patches on the head of the penis as well as soreness and itchiness. If you have these symptoms, seek medical help.
How does diabetes affect women’s sexual life?
Diabetes affects not only men’s but women’s sexual life as well. Less blood flow and nerve damage due to diabetes mean that your vagina will not be aroused or stimulated as usual. This results in vaginal dryness and, therefore, in painful and uncomfortable sex if you are sexually active. However, it is worth noting that vaginal dryness is not only caused by diabetes but by other factors as well. You can easily manage vaginal dryness if you invest in a good lubricant.
STIs are also a problem that most women with diabetes face. Just like men with diabetes, women with diabetes are also more likely to develop infections from STIs.
Women with diabetes also get thrush as well. In fact, women are more likely to develop thrush when compared to men. Women who have thrush will identify symptoms such as pain during sex, vaginal itchiness, white and thick discharge, as well as a stinging sensation while peeing.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that causes many health issues in one’s life. Diabetes-related high blood pressure and cholesterol levels will cause different conditions in your body, which also include sexual dysfunction. There is no medication to cure diabetes completely; however, one can follow prevention methods such as a good diet and a workout regime to avoid getting diabetes in their lifetime.