Living with diabetes blog

Diabetes and your sexual health

By Peggy Moreland, R.N., C.D.E. September 25, 2015

Most people agree that sex is an important part of life and relationships. Having diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction in about 50 percent of men and sexual problems in about 25 percent of women.

For men, high blood sugar over time damages nerves and small and large blood vessels through the body, including vessels leading to and within the penis, causing erectile dysfunction.

Women with diabetes are also more likely to have difficulty achieving orgasms; nerve damage from sustained high blood glucoses can cause a gradual loss of sensation and sexual response.

So what can you do to have a long and healthy sexual relationship?

  • Good blood glucose control is important in order to prevent nerve and blood vessel damage that leads to sexual dysfunction. Work with your primary healthcare provider and certified diabetes educator and/or dietician to help you achieve good control.
  • Limit alcohol. More than 2 alcoholic drinks a day can damage your blood vessels.
  • Reduce stress and get plenty of sleep.
  • Regular exercise helps keep your arteries clear and boost your stamina.
  • Go on weekly dates with your partner and get away from everyday stresses. Make some dates romantic!
  • Seek help if you're anxious or depressed. Depression, anxiety, stress and the fear of having erectile problems can cause the problem or make it worse.
  • See your healthcare provider if you're having problems with your sex life. Getting better blood glucose control can help improve your sex life.

Have a great week.

Sept. 25, 2015