Diabetes Hampers Sex, but Many Patients Remain Sexually Active

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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Many patients living with diabetes remain sexually active, despite less desire. Men with diabetes are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. Women and men may have difficulty with orgasm. New findings show that even though diabetes hampers sexual activity, 70 percent of men and 62 percent of women living with diabetes enjoy sex 2 to 3 times a month.

The number of diabetics found in the study engaging in sexual activity was comparable to those without diabetes. The findings highlight the importance of recognizing problems experience by diabetics that can impair sex.

Diabetes Effects on Sexuality

Researchers say the psychological effects of diabetes may have an effect on sexual activity. Men especially report lack of desire and erectile dysfunction. Men report climaxing too quickly, while both genders say they have trouble reaching orgasm.

"Patients and doctors need to know that most middle age and older adults with partners are still sexually active despite their diabetes," said the study's lead author Stacy Lindau, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of medicine at the University of Chicago. "However, many people with diabetes have sexual problems that are not being addressed."

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Diabetic women with partners tend to avoid sex. They also don’t want to talk about it with their physician. Compared to 47 percent of men, only 19 percent of women said they had initiated discussion with their healthcare provider about sexual problems.

Some diabetics don’t know they have the disease. In the study that took place between July 2005 and March 2006 via questionnaires and interviews, 22 percent of men and 19 percent of women had diabetes not yet diagnosed. The findings are from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project that included 2,000 people aged 57 to 85. Until now, there has been limited information about sexual activity among patients with diabetes.

"Failure to recognize and address sexual issues among middle-age and older adults with diabetes may impair quality of life and adaptation to the disease," said Marshall Chin, MD, senior author of the study and professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Sexual problems are common in patients with diabetes, and many patients are not discussing these issues with their physicians."

Loss of libido was the biggest hindrance to sexual activity for men with diabetes. Compared to sixty percent of men without the disease, only 47 percent of diabetic men reported masturbating in the previous 12 months.

Patients with diabetes are encouraged to discuss problems with their physician. Many middle age and older diabetics remain sexually active, shown by the study, but there are issues that still need to be addressed to ensure patients living with diabetes enjoy a healthy and active sex life.

Diabetes Care

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Comments

...very informative and in language that could be understood.
Really?diabetes can affect the sexuality ?may i know how and where we get this diabetes?