sex life

Sex and Diabetes: 5 Ways to Keep the Fire Burning

Are you nervous to talk to your doctor about sex?  A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that only 19% of women and only about 50% of men with diabetes have talked to their doctor about their sex lives.  However, the fact of the matter is that having diabetes can greatly impact your sex life – and not in a positive way.  So, I’m broaching the topic to share what you can do to overcome some of the most prevalent bedroom issues for diabetics.

It seems doctors are quick to talk about eye, nerve, kidney and heart damage when it comes to the newly diagnosed (avoiding terrible complications), but what about preserving the pleasurable parts of life like maintaining sexual function when you are with your partner?

Here are 5 things you can do to ensure diabetes doesn’t take control of your sex life.

1. Get Moving

Exercise outside of the bedroom not only plays a role in reversing the symptoms of diabetes, it can help tremendously in upping circulation and responsiveness to improve your sex life.  It helps strengthen the heart, increases blood flow to those all-important areas, and improves flexibility and stamina.  And what’s more, nerve sensation may even be enhanced by activities like yoga in areas that you have had nerve damage in.

2. Keep Glucose Levels

This one may seem obvious, but in order to not only avoid nerve damage but to feel your best, keep track of your blood glucose levels by testing regularly.  In doing this and staying in check, blood vessels (men, you know what that means) are protected and infections can be avoided (women).

3. Get Some Rest

Sleep is one of the “big ticket items” that can make or break your diabetic health.  This is because if you get less than 6 hours of sleep on a regular basis, one study found that you are 3 times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels (possible nerve damage etc.)! This, in addition to the increase in energy added rest can mean for your sex life, means hitting the hay should be high on your priority list.

4. Check Testosterone Levels

Low testosterone levels in both men and women can be a complication of diabetes and lead to a lowered sex drive.  If your libido is lacking, testosterone therapy or increasing testosterone through weight loss may be the cure if your diabetes was poorly managed at some point in the past.  Sexual desire is a brain-driven event and the brain needs proper blood circulation to function properly, so it follows that hormones and glucose levels have a great affect on mood, desire, and even the desire for sex.

5. Talk to Your Doctor

Opening up about sexual dysfunction really is half the battle.  Your doctor can work together with you to get to the bottom of sexual problems that could be a result of your diabetes.  It may be as ‘easy’ as getting in control of your blood glucose levels – but if something more is needed, your medical provider can work with you to get to figure it out.  Keep in mind that most doctors have heard and seen it all, and can work with you based on the medications you are taking.  So open up to your doctor and begin to move towards better sexual function and preserving the pleasurable aspects of your life.

By: DiabeticCare editorial team; Published: 10-7-2013, 11:00 AM

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