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Diabetes and Sexual Dysfunction: What's the Link?

10.5%, or just over 34 million people in the US population deal with diabetes, a condition that is caused by an imbalance of the body’s blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is an important source of fuel for the body’s muscles, tissues and the brain. Too much sugar in the blood will overload the ability of the pancreas to make insulin (which lowers the amount of sugar in the bloodstream) and leads to the different types of diabetes, including type 2 diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes results from a high enough glucose level that the body resists the insulin it creates. This typically results in heart and blood vessel damage, kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage and a number of other issues. But, it can also have negative affects on your sex life.

Doctors Craig Herman, Steven Kester and the Urology Center of Florida have years of experience and expertise in helping with sexual dysfunction and many other conditions.

Understanding sexual dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction refers to any problem in the sexual act that prevents satisfaction to the people involved. This includes a number of things including desire, arousal, inability to perform or climax as well as other parts of the sexual response. There are desire, arousal, orgasm and pain disorders all connected to sexual dysfunction. It is a common condition (43% of women and 31% of men) and because of its delicate nature in our lives can be difficult to discuss, much less get treated.

How diabetes can affect it

The cardiovascular and nerve damage that can be caused by diabetes can directly impact sexual health. A common side effect in both men and women with diabetes is the lowering of the libido, or sex drive. This can be connected with some the the effects of diabetes including fatigue, depression, hormonal changes, stress, anxiety and even the side effects of some blood pressure medications. 

Diabetic neuropathy can also affect sexual stimulation, numbness, pain, or the ability to orgasm. These specific side effects are common in women dealing with sexual dysfunction from diabetes, but can affect both sexes. In men, diabetes can affect testosterone levels which can lower the sex drive as well as create problems with erectile dysfunction.  

How it can be treated

Most standard diabetic treatments (controlling glucose, insulin treatments, dietary changes, etc) can help to reduce many of the complications diabetes can create with sex but medications to treat blood flow problems like Viagra, Cialis, and other can help with men don’t have high blood pressure or heart conditions. Mechanical methods like vacuum pumps and penis injections may also help, as well as surgery. Vaginal lubrication can be helpful for women and hormone therapy can help both men and women.

Sexual dysfunction is a difficult subject to discuss for many people but help is available whether it’s caused by diabetes or other problems. If you’re ready to discuss sexual dysfunction and need treatment, make an appointment with Dr, Herman, Dr. Kester and the Urology Center of Florida to get help today.

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