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Diabetes and Sex

Decreased or Absent Sexual Response
Sexual problems in women may be caused by:
 
Gynecologic infections or conditions relating to pregnancy or menopause can also contribute to decreased or absent sexual response.
 
As many as 35 percent of women with diabetes may experience decreased or absent sexual response. This can result in:
 
  • Decreased desire for sex
  • Inability to become or remain aroused
  • Lack of sensation
  • Inability to reach orgasm.
     
Symptoms include:
 
  • Decreased or total lack of interest in sexual relations
  • Decreased or no sensation in the genital area
  • Constant or occasional inability to reach orgasm
  • Dryness in the vaginal area, leading to pain or discomfort during sexual relations.
     
If you experience sexual problems or notice a change in your sexual response, talking to your doctor about it is the first step in getting help. Your doctor will ask you about:
 
  • Your medical history
  • Any gynecologic conditions or infections
  • Your medications
  • The frequency and type of your sexual problems
  • Your smoking and drinking habits
  • Other health conditions.
     
A physical exam and laboratory tests may also help pinpoint causes. Your blood glucose control will be discussed. The doctor may ask whether you might be pregnant or have reached menopause and whether you are depressed or have recently experienced upsetting changes in your life.
 
Prescription or over-the-counter vaginal lubricant creams may be useful for women experiencing dryness.
 
Techniques used to treat decreased sexual response include:
 
  • Changes in position
  • Stimulation during sexual relations
  • Psychological counseling
  • Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold urine in the bladder.
     
Studies of drug treatments are underway.
 
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