Diabetes can affect a woman’s sex life. For example, some women with diabetes have less interest in sex because of depression or changes in blood glucose levels that can leave them feeling tired or irritable. Or, intercourse can be painful because of dryness. Some women find it hard to keep their blood glucose on track the week before and during their menstrual period—blood glucose levels may go up and down because of changes in hormone levels.
Men with diabetes also experience sexual health issues. Some men have impotence, also called erectile dysfunction, from nerve and blood vessel damage caused by diabetes. Men with diabetes are also twice as likely as others to have low testosterone levels, which can diminish sex drive.
For both partners, emotional factors can interfere with sexual feelings often leading to, or worsening, sexual dysfunction. These include depression, anxiety, stress and fatigue. You may feel distant or withdraw because you may not feel enjoyment, or you may have a fear of failure when it comes to performing sexually.
It’s normal to feel embarrassed discussing such an intimate and personal issue, but speak with your health care provider, who is a professional that is there to help you, not judge you. Talk to them about medicines or counseling that could help you. Understanding how your sexual health can be affected by diabetes can help you manage this important life issue successfully.