Secrets to a satisfying sex life with type 1 diabetes

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Type 1 diabetes can impact your sex life, so it should be part of your management plan. Diabetes can cause discomfort and affect intercourse. Being well informed can help you to anticipate  challenges and implement solutions.

Sex and hypoglycemia 

In case you haven’t noticed: sex is exercise! And this physical activity can sometimes be very intense. As with any exercise, the recommendations to follow are: 

– Check your blood sugar levels (before, during and after) because it will allow you to get to know yourself better and be prepared for the next few times

– Listen to yourself – even if the beating heart and sweating mask some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia

– Have something to eat in case you need it: there’s nothing like a few candies or juice boxes in the drawer of the bedside table      

Manage erectile dysfunction

A man living with type 1 diabetes may experience erectile dysfunction at certain times in his life. Hyperglycemia can cause nerve damage and reduce blood flow and thus cause erectile dysfunction and ejaculation disorders. Poorly controlled blood glucose levels can also disrupt the hormonal system and lower testosterone production, causing a drop in libido.

If you encounter such difficulties, do not hesitate to consult your doctor who can guide you if necessary towards one of the many existing therapeutic options (oral treatment, intracavernous injections…).

Treat vaginal dryness

Women with type 1 diabetes may also experience symptoms that have an impact on their sex life, including reduced vaginal lubrication. Similarly, high blood sugar can affect blood vessels and nerves. This results in a decrease in the swelling of the vulva tissues and vaginal dryness, leading to pain during intercourse, a decrease in libido or difficulties in reaching orgasm.

The solutions to solve this problem: long-term glycemic control, lubricant to compensate for vaginal dryness or even perineal muscle building exercise. These can help to maintain or restore better lubrication.

Prevent fungal infections

Comfort and female pleasure can also be affected by the development of fungal infections. Indeed, excess sugar promotes the development of fungi (candida albicans) and bacteria, and an increased risk of infection. 

Once again, good glycemic control is critical in treating a fungal infection and reducing the likelihood of it returning.

Fungal infections are usually treated with oral antifungal drugs and sometimes supplemented with local antifungal creams. Fungal infections are often not serious, but if you experience pain, burning, itching or unusual secretions, you should consult your doctor. 

Communicate!

It is not always easy to talk about diabetes and sex with your partner, especially at the beginning of a relationship. Additionally, medical devices (pumps, sensors, patches, etc.) can be difficult to deal with at first. Don’t forget that the best approach is dialogue. It is better to talk about it in the first place than to risk interruption by a loud alarm at a key moment, isn’t it? 

Communication, understanding and mutual support contribute to a healthy sex life for all couples.

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