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High Sugar May Equal Low Sex Drive in Women

When people hear about sexual dysfunction in connection with diabetes, they may first think of erectile dysfunction in men.

But women with diabetes are also at risk for sexual problems as a result of their condition.

One study showed that approximately 18 percent of women with type 1 diabetes and 42 percent of women with type 2 diabetes have some degree of sexual dysfunction. 

Another study indicated that as many as 64 percent of menopausal women with type 2 diabetes have sexual problems, while approximately 41 percent of pre-menopausal women with type 2 diabetes have sexual issues.

Diabetes is a condition that results when sugar or glucose in the blood is abnormally high. This sugar can damage organs and systems in the body including the blood vessels and nerves.

People with type 1 diabetes are not able to make enough of the hormone insulin which is needed to move sugar from the bloodstream into the cells where it is used for energy.

People with type 2 diabetes may not produce enough insulin or their cells may become unresponsive to the work of insulin.

In women, uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves in the genital area including the vagina. This can result in a variety of sexual problems including:

  • Difficulty becoming aroused or responding to sexual stimulation
  • Decreased desire for sexual activity (low sex drive)
  • Decreased vaginal lubrication or vaginal dryness
  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Difficulty achieving orgasm

Diabetes can also cause an increased risk of yeast infections as well as other gynecological infections in women which can make sex more difficult or uncomfortable.

If you have diabetes, you can reduce your risks of sexual problems as a result of your disease by:

  • Keeping your blood sugar levels under control
  • Keeping your weight in a healthy range
  • Strengthening your pelvic muscles using Kegel exercises
  • Eating a healthful diet
  • Exercising

Studies have shown that women with type 2 diabetes are more likely than men to stop having sex altogether if they experience sexual dysfunction. Women are also less likely to talk to their health care providers about issues with sexual function.

If you have diabetes and you are experiencing sexual difficulties, talk to your health care provider for tips to keep your sugar under control and to improve your sexual experience.

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