1. WIDOWMAKER54 says:

    In men

    Long-term diabetes can cause damage to the nervous system, which is involved in the complex process of erection.

    This means men with diabetes may suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) and be unable to get or maintain an erection. As many as a third of men with diabetes experience ED.

    Term watch
    Erectile dysfunction is another name for impotence.
    Some men only discover they have diabetes when they seek treatment for their erectile dysfunction.

    Once diabetes has been regulated through diet, pills or insulin injections, sexual problems usually disappear and the ability to get an erection is restored.

    In women

    A number of women with diabetes may suffer from recurring vaginitis (inflammation of the vagina), which is usually due to yeast infection. This makes sex painful. You may suffer itching or burning sensations.

    Women with diabetes may also get recurring cystitis.

    There is also some suggestion that women with diabetes have problems with arousal, and just as the penis fails to become erect in the man, the clitoris in a woman may not respond to stimulation in the normal way.

    Can you make your sex life work when you have diabetes?

    If you feel diabetes is causing problems with your sex life, talk to your doctor.

    While no-one relishes talking about sexual problems with a doctor, these issues can only be addressed if you seek help.

    Your doctor will try to find out whether sexual problems are caused by defects in the nervous or circulatory system as a result of the diabetes, or whether they are of a more psychological nature. Often this distinction is difficult to make.

    In any case, when sexual dysfunction begins to happen on a regular basis it tends to get worse unless it is properly treated, so the psychological element inevitably builds up.

    An increasing number of men who have diabetes and ED are being helped by medicines such as sildenafil (Viagra), tadalafil (Cialis) and vardenafil (Levitra).

    If tests confirm that your nervous system hasn’t been damaged by diabetes, and there are no associated circulatory problems, there’s no reason why your sex life shouldn’t recover.

    Sometimes a little help and support from your partner and doctor is all that’s needed.

    What can be done about sexual problems that are not caused by diabetes?

    This is a sensitive issue, but help is available.

    Generally the most useful first port of call is your family doctor, who can refer you (and your partner) to a psychosexual therapist – or marriage guidance counsellor if this is more appropriate.

    Try not to dwell on the fact diabetes can cause sexual problems – just because it can, doesn’t mean it will.

    And if you do experience difficulties, be reassured that nowadays there is a lot of help available.

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