diabetes affects


High blood sugar or diabetes affects most of the systems of the body such as kidneys, eyes, nerves and so on. But the system that is equally impacted and most often not addressed, is the one related to sexual function.

Diabetes has been found to have profound effects on the sexual functioning of both men and women and thus, being high on your sugar can adversely affect your performance and pleasure.

Effects on men:

High sugar level lowers the level of testosterone (the male hormone) hampering erection as well as decreasing sex drive. Other factors associated with diabetes that contribute to erectile dysfunction or ED include hypertension, obesity, medications such as antidepressants, statins, etc. The inability to perform in bed may lead to low self-esteem and anxiety making matters worse.

Complicated diabetes such as diabetic neuropathy can cause retrograde ejaculation wherein semen is ejaculated into the bladder instead of out of the penis. Moreover, the nerve damage due to diabetes can affect the nerves down there making sensations or stimulation difficult. Blood flow to the genitals may be blocked reducing sensations further. Attaining orgasm and experiencing pleasure might be tough for diabetics.

How to deal with it:

light-to-moderate exercise or yoga strengthens the heart to improve the blood flow to the area as well as enhances mobility and flexibility of the lower body. Consult your doctor for medical options to help you. Controlling the blood glucose levels and keeping a check on your medications are additional areas your doctor can help you with.

Effects on women:

Diabetes can disrupt the female hormones resulting in vaginal dryness or painful intercourse. Also just like in males, the restricted blood circulation and damaged nerves can have an effect on the sensations like arousal or orgasms. Diabetic females are also at a higher risk for vaginal or urinary tract infections.

How to deal with it:

For vaginal dryness, a water-based lubricant can be used during intercourse. Hormone replacement therapy may also be advised by your doctor to deal with the hormonal imbalance in addition to blood sugar control and other necessary preventive measures.

Discussing your problem is the first step. Be open to discuss it with your partner and your doctor. It not only brings forth solutions but also, lightens the emotional burden and relieves stress making a relationship stronger.

Author: Dr. Nidhi Jhamb

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