What sexual problems can diabetes cause?

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The best way to treat poor sexual function due to diabetes is with prevention. In this video, Ronald Tamler, MD, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center, explains how taking care of your diabetes can improve sexual function.

Both men and women may struggle with sexual dysfunction as a result of diabetes. Men who have diabetes are two to three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction than men who do not. Women may experience vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, or loss of libido (low sex drive). If you're having problems with your sex life due to diabetes, talk to your doctor about treatment options.

Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves of the penis leading to erectile dysfunction in men. Women can also have trouble with sexual response and lubrication due to similar nerve and blood vessel damage.

For men with diabetes, the major sexual concern is erectile dysfunction or anxiety about how to treat it if it happens. Men and women both may share concerns about birth control and safe sex. For women with diabetes, sexual problems may include poor vaginal lubrication and pain during intercourse or diminished sexual desire and problems achieving orgasm. In addition, women need to deal with the effects of sex hormones on blood glucose levels, throughout the menstrual cycle and as they experience menopause. Women with diabetes have extra challenges as they prepare for pregnancy and carry a growing baby. Don’t face these important issues alone just because they concern your sexual life. Sex is a part of each of our lives as humans and belongs in a healthy life.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.