As if people with diabetes do not have enough to worry about, they also have to contend with sexual problems. Diabetes and sexual problems affect both men and women but in different ways. Because your body responds to sexual stimuli through your nerves and high blood glucose levels affect your nervous system, it is understandable that even sexual response is affected by this potentially life-threatening condition.
In men, diabetes and sexual problems often focus on erectile dysfunction. It is estimated by the American Diabetes Institute that as many as 85 percent of men with diabetes experience erectile dysfunction. This can cause problems in marriage but, more importantly, can cause severe depression in those who are contending not only with the disease of diabetes but also what they deem the loss of their self-esteem.
Erectile dysfunction can also be a symptom of diabetes. If a man continues to experience this malady, he should discuss this problem with his physician to make sure that he is not suffering from undiagnosed diabetes. Fortunately, there are certain medications and other treatments available to men who experience this common side effect of diabetes. The key to eliminating the problem is for the patient to discuss this with his physician.
Diabetes and sexual problems do not stop at erectile dysfunction, however. Retrograde ejaculation is a more potentially dangerous situation that can happen to men with diabetes. In this condition, the semen can go into the bladder instead of being dispelled out of the penis during ejaculation. A man who is experiencing this side effect of diabetes should seek consultation with a urologist who can help with medication or surgery to correct the problem.
Men are not the only ones affected by sexual problems as a side effect of diabetes. Diabetes and sexual problems also affect women. Because of damage to the nerve cells within the vagina by high levels of blood glucose, dryness can occur that can make intercourse very painful. Many women also report that the nerve damage caused by hyperglycemia also causes them to lose interest in sex and have no sensations in their genital area. Needless to say, the lack of sexual desire can cause psychological problems for both men and women and may lead to marital difficulties as well.
Many people are embarrassed about speaking to their physician when it comes to problems relating to sexual relations. People with diabetes should be aware of the fact that their condition makes them prone to these side effects and should discuss them with their doctor so they can get treatment. There is a variety of treatments for those experiencing diabetes and sexual problems.
One way to prevent such problems from occurring is to maintain your blood glucose levels by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and taking your prescribed medication or insulin. Monitor your blood sugars as instructed by your physician. If you experience any side effects related to your condition, discuss them with your physician. By keeping informed of the disease and the side effects as well as complications, you can empower yourself in managing your illness and lead a happier as well as longer life.