The Gist of It:
- 5 sexual complications and how to overcome them.
- Some of the common complications are poor vaginal lubrication, yeast infection, and pain during intercourse.
- Always keep an open mind and an open communication with your partner and doctor.
Sex, penis, and breasts.
Now that we’ve gotten over the awkwardness, let’s take a look at how diabetes can affect your sex life.
These are just some guidelines to the complications that you may face, but at the end of the day it is best to consult your doctor (don’t be shy; we’re sure they’re pretty used to it by now).
Sometimes sexual problems could stem from psychological burdens or emotional barriers so don’t be offended if your doctor were to approach the issue with this angle as they are just covering the bases. Do not be ashamed to seek counselling for any issues.
Some of the common sexual problems include poor vaginal lubrication, a decrease in sex drive, pain during intercourse, and trouble having orgasms. These are issues faced by women with and without diabetes. However women with Type 2 diabetes may be more likely to have sexual problems than women of the same age without diabetes. This is due to hormonal changes in blood vessels and nerve damage around the genitalia caused by diabetes.
Women with diabetes have increased rates of vaginal infections and inflammation, both of which can make sex painful. Nerve damage to the bladder can also cause incontinence (unintentional passing of urine), making sex embarrassing. They are also more likely to have frequent urinary tract infections, which can also make sex painful and uncomfortable.
1. Yeast Infections
Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina often caused by yeast infections. Yeast is a natural incurring fungus that lives in warm, moist, dark environments. This fungus feeds on sugar. So when a woman’s blood sugar gets elevated, her vagina is a perfect environment for the yeast to live, feed and grow. Symptoms include itching, burning or pain during urination or intercourse.
There are various medicines available to treat yeast infections. These include oral and topical antifungal meds. But you should always talk to your doctor before using any products. Especially if your blood sugar level is not normal and you have recurring yeast infections.
2. Low Energy
Low energy and fatigue could be caused by low blood sugar. Having dessert a few hours before having “dessert” should do the trick. Try having sex at a different time of day when your energy levels are high. Night time may not always be the right time. After a long day and with the added fatigue that goes along with diabetes, the last thing someone may have the energy for is sex. Try sex in the mornings or afternoons (don’t get caught). Experiment to see what works best for you and be sure to monitor your glucose levels.
Sex is like exercising; you burn up a lot of energy so be aware of your glucose levels. Hypoglycemia may happen during sex. Don’t be shy to inform your partner if you need a rest or would like to take it slow. Never ever be shy about checking your blood sugar levels before engaging in any sexual activity.
3. Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder that could affect the digestive tract, heart, and sex organs. Some people with nerve damage have no symptoms while others may have symptoms such as pain, tingling sensation, or numbness. In this case, the genital areas might lose sensitivity and will affect pleasure.
In some… adult forums, women with diabetes have claimed that using a vibrator stimulates the damaged nerves resulting in arousal and increase in libido.
4. Overcoming Dryness
Most often, oestrogen (hormone) therapy helps improve lubrication. You can take oestrogen pills or you can wear a patch, get shots, or apply vaginal cream but do NOT try to diagnose this yourself or use over-the-counter drugs that contain oestrogen. Always consult your doc first.
But here’s a temporary solution; apply a liberal amount of lubricant to deal with vaginal dryness. Water-based lubes are best and there are a variety of brands available. Do not be afraid to stop midway to add more lube as sexual activity can often require a greater amount. Some lubes have flavours to spice things up so put your mind at ease and enjoy.
5. Contraceptive Pills
Birth control pills may raise your blood glucose levels. Using the pill for more than a year or two may also increase your risk for diabetes complications . For example, if you get high blood pressure while you are on the pill, you increase the chance that the eye or kidney complications will get worse.
Other options include diaphragm or cervical cap plus spermicidal jelly, and sponge or condom with spermicidal foam.
Type 2 diabetes may make sexual activity a little more challenging but it does not mean you must skip the sexual pleasures completely. Many times if the disease is brought under control, sexual dysfunctions resolve themselves. The most important thing is not to give up and have a healthy relationship with your significant other. Click here to read our tips for the men!
HealthWorks is currently running a series on diabetes, click here to read more on this silent killer.
As a diabetic, how are you taking care of yourself nutritionally? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!