How does diabetes affect my sexual desire as a woman?

Diabetes can affect a woman's sexual desire in a number of ways. For example, depression and anxiety, particularly in newly diagnosed women who are just learning about diabetes management, can interfere with sexual desire. So can the mechanics of treatment (wearing a pump, for example, or the need to do a blood sugar check before sex) insofar as they may make some women self-conscious with their partners and less likely to initiate or participate in sex.

If your lack of libido stems from diabetes-related depression or anxiety, therapy and/or medication can help. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the possible sexual side effects of any antidepressant they may prescribe. Wellbutrin, one of the antidepressant drugs, has a lower risk of sexual side effects and may be preferred in depressed women with decreased sex drive.

Some women find that they are just too tired. They are coping with busy lives, caring for children and grandchildren, working, and trying to find some time for themselves. Diabetes adds additional stress and work to their lives. High blood glucose levels add to feeling tired and run down. Because of nerve changes related to diabetes or simply due to getting older, some women find that they need more stimulation to fully enjoy sex.

Depression is more common among people with diabetes. Depression usually causes people to feel less interested in sex. In addition, some of the medications used to treat depression can affect sexual desire.

Women with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes may feel less desirable or that their bodies are less attractive as they get older and perhaps heavier. Diabetes complications can also cause you to feel less desire, both emotionally and physically.

Tips to Increase Your Desire

  • If you have dryness, infections, or are worried about getting pregnant, talk with your diabetes care provider or your gynecologist.
  • If you are worried about your blood glucose levels, do a quick blood glucose check before having sex. Knowing that you are not likely to have a reaction can help you relax and enjoy yourself. You may also want to keep something to treat a low glucose nearby so that if you do go low, you won’t have to interrupt things too much.
  • If you feel sad and blue or if your sadness is affecting your desire for sex, talk with your provider. There are medicines that will work for depression that do not affect your desire for sex.
  • Help set the stage to get into the mood. Take time for yourself and your partner. Let your partner know what will help you feel more romantic and in the mood.

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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.