Diabetes and Sexual Problems

See your doctor

If you are experiencing any type of sexual dysfunction don’t hesitate to speak with your health care provider. Sex is a natural and enjoyable part of life so you shouldn’t miss out on it due to embarrassment.

Your doctor will perform a physical exam, which includes:

  • Medical history
  • How long the problem has occurred; and whether you are experiencing anxiety or stress
  • A physical exam and review of diabetes complications
  • Lab tests to check hormone levels
  • Review of medicines taken
  • Men will be asked about morning erections (a sign that the impotence probably is not due to a physical problem). Occasionally additional testing, including measurements of erections, an ultrasound, and/or neurological and other tests done at the doctor’s office or by you at home.
  • Women will be asked about any gynecologic conditions or infections whether the patient might be pregnant or has reached menopause. A physical exam and laboratory tests may also help pinpoint causes of sexual problems.

What Treatments Are Available for Men With Diabetes and Sexual Dysfunction?

Men with diabetes having trouble with achieving and/or maintaining an erection may be able to oral medications like Viagra, Cialis, Stendra, or Levitra. However, because people with diabetes may also have heart disease, these medications may not be appropriate and can cause dangerous interactions with heart or blood pressure medications.

Unfortunately, data suggests that diabetics are 55% more likely be prescribed second-line treatments that include: injection therapy, vacuum constriction devices, intra-urethral (pellets) therapy, and sex therapy.

Psychological counseling to reduce anxiety or address other issues may be necessary.

Retrograde ejaculation caused by diabetes or surgery may be helped with medication to strengthens the muscles of the sphincter in the bladder. A urologist experienced in infertility treatments may assist with techniques to promote fertility, such as collecting sperm from the urine and then using the sperm for artificial insemination.

Surgery to implant a device to aid in erection or to repair arteries is usually used as a treatment after all others fail.

What Treatments Are Available for Women With Diabetes and Sexual Dysfunction?

Prescription or over-the-counter vaginal lubricants may be useful for women experiencing vaginal dryness. Techniques to treat decreased sexual response include changes in position and stimulation during sexual relations. Kegel exercises that help strengthen the pelvic muscles may improve sexual response. Psychological counseling may be helpful. Currently no drug treatments are available (of course) but studies are under way.

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