M.D.MEDICINE , Diploma in Diabetology
Diabetes is often considered as deadly as cancer. It is a disease that requires lifestyle changes and diet modifications. It is also a disease that affects almost the entire system of your body. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it will do you a world of good to understand the effects of diabetes. Neurovascular damage is one of the most common effects, this means that diabetes will affect the nerves and blood supply of the body.
While type 1 diabetes makes its presence felt much earlier and is hereditary quite often, type 2 appears later in life with age and cumulative stress. The effects of diabetes are related to the duration of the disease. Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes are more likely to have the symptoms early on and need to learn to manage them. Type 2 makes its appearance later, but needs good monitoring for the effects to not surface or prolong the severity of symptoms.
As we all know, all body systems are affected by diabetes, sexual health is no exception. Diabetes decreases blood supply and impacts the nerves in the genitals, thus causing a series of issues right from reduced libido and erectile dysfunction in males to vaginal dryness and painful coitus (perunia) in females.
Listed below are issues diabetic men and women face in terms of sexual health:
1. Diabetes reduces testosterone levels, which is directly reflected in reduced libido. Altered nerve function does not provide proper signals to the penis and there is also reduced blood flow to the organ. Both these can diminish the chances of a good erection. Studies have shown that among men who have had diabetes for 10 years, about 50% have experienced erectile dysfunction.
2. The affected nerve function also leads to difficulties in reaching a climax. Diabetes in men can additionally cause peyronie's disease, which leads to a curved penis, and this leads to painful and difficult erections and coitus.
1. It leads to reduced sexual desire due to testosterone levels. Vaginal dryness is very common in females with diabetes and therefore, there is a definite decline in the urge.
2. The above mentioned neurovascular damage also prevents women from reaching a good climax, as the nerve supply is affected.
3. Diabetes also increases the predisposition to urinary tract infections, which can lead to painful sexual experience due to additional vaginal dryness and itching.
Finally, as much as it may sound as a cause for concern, it is not. People with diabetes know that making small lifestyle changes can go a long way in terms of onset of symptoms, their severity, and the leading of a normal life. Modifications in diet and lifestyle to include healthy eating, reduced stress, and exercising are very useful. It is also very important to talk to your doctor about how your sexual health has changed with diabetes. It is a sensitive and private topic, but if you are concerned about it, then do not hesitate to seek help.