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Can diabetes affect my sex life?
Several factors, both organic and psychological, can affect your sex life. However, most people with diabetes have a satisfying sex life that is in line with their desires. We will summarize here why diabetes can have an impact and how to prevent and correct these problems.
Diabetes, after many years, can cause damage to the small nerves and/or small arteries whose function is, for men, essential for erection. In addition, diabetes is sometimes associated with other diseases, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which can lead to circulatory problems that can make having or maintaining an erection difficult or impossible. Some treatments, such as diuretics or β-blockers, used in the treatment of high blood pressure can also affect the quality of the erection. For women, vaginal dryness and yeast infections, which are more common in people with diabetes, are the main factors that make sex uncomfortable or painful; not to mention the problems of urinary infections.
For everyone, it is also the psychological impact of the disease that can reduce libido and desire. The fear of hypoglycemia induced by the physical effort of sex may also be an obstacle to sex, for both the person with diabetes and their partner.
Faced with these potential problems, it is advisable to take the sexual well-being into account by adopting healthy behaviors:
- Have diabetes as controlled as possible over time.
- Stop smoking, which is the most aggravating factor in erectile dysfunction.
- Avoid gaining weight, and ideally try to lose weight if overweight.
- Be physically active for at least 20 minutes a day.
- Detect and treat fungal infections.
- Have a regular gynecological examination.
The complications described are not fatal. If they do occur, you should speak to your doctor. He or she will check whether your treatments may be responsible for the disorder and, if necessary, modify them or suggest medicines that may improve erection, vaginal dryness, or treat potential fungal infections.