In one of our recent blog posts, we covered the topic of diabetes, a serious illness that can have dire side-effects on the organs, limbs and nerves.
In this post, we’re looking at how the illness can affect your sexual and reproductive health if left undetected, untreated, and/or poorly managed.
The impact of diabetes on your sexual and reproductive wellness
Diabetes can have a significant effect on the sexual and reproductive health of both men and women. Let’s first take a look at the impact it has on the female body.
Women who suffer from unmanaged, undiagnosed or poorly treated diabetes may experience one or a combination of the following:
- Lower libido: less interest in or desire for sex
- Vaginal dryness: less discharge/natural lubrication during sex
- Pain during sex
- Difficulty reaching orgasm
- Urinary complications
- Menstruation problems, including missed or irregular periods, and earlier than normal menopause
- Problems during pregnancy. Women with diabetes must be monitored carefully during pregnancy as there is a high risk of miscarriage and complications with the foetus
- Higher incidence of infections related to their reproductive system, including vaginal thrush
Men, meanwhile, may suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Androgen deficiency, which means that the body has lower levels of male sex hormones, specifically testosterone
- Lower libido
- Retrograde ejaculation, whereby the semen flows into the bladder
- Inflammation of the head of the penis (balanitis)
I have diabetes. What can I do to restore and/or protect my sexual and reproductive health?
The first and most important step is to have a proper diagnosis and to get put on the right course of treatment. Visiting your doctor is critical: poorly managed diabetes can have serious effects on your body and quality of life.
If you’re currently being treated for diabetes and are experiencing any of the issues covered here, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
How will my doctor or healthcare provider treat any issues relating to my sexual and reproductive health?
Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and try to gather as many details about your symptoms as possible. S/he may conduct a physical examination and/or request blood tests to help diagnose any underlying issues. Certain diabetes side effects can be treated with medication, and your doctor, gynae or healthcare provider will be able to provide information on these, as well as prescribe any necessary treatment.
Book a woman’s wellness appointment at Marie Stopes
If you’re in any way concerned about your health, make an appointment to visit Marie Stopes. A woman’s wellness check-up will detect any red flags regarding your health, and help you to receive prompt, effective treatment and care.