Type 1 diabetes: how does it affect women’s sex lives?

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Ladies, are you living with type 1 diabetes and feel that it is affecting your sex life? You are not alone. While diabetes can cause problems with intimate flora or libido, some women have managed to overcome them or simply accept them. Several women have agreed to talk about how type 1 diabetes affects their sexuality and intimate life, and the solutions they have found. Don’t worry – having a fulfilling sex life when you are a woman with type 1 diabetes is possible! 

Type 1 diabetes: the most common intimate complaints

It is not uncommon for type 1 diabetes that is poorly or insufficiently controlled to have intimate consequences for women: recurrent mycoses, vaginal dryness, cystitis and other delights can be part of daily life for some women. 

In this case, turning to a health care professional is highly recommended. Benefiting from medical follow-up is essential. A gynecologist and/or midwife can provide a diagnosis and explore solutions with you. Although these intimate discomforts occur frequently in women living with type 1 diabetes, this condition is not always the cause, so it’s worth getting it checked out.  

On a day-to-day basis, these intimate discomforts can cause some women with T1D to feel guilty or even find they have a negative impact on their relationships. These feelings of guilt can lead to a decrease in libido and mark the beginning of a vicious circle. 

What can you do when you are in this situation? Communication is often the key to resolving complex and/or embarrassing situations. Being able to openly and easily discuss the impact of your type 1 diabetes on your sex life and intimacy with your partner is fundamental. The women who have agreed to contribute here feel supported and listened to by their partner. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be the same for you!

If it becomes too much of a burden and a source of other problems, don’t be ashamed and don’t hesitate to get help from a health care professional. 

Are you tired of repeated urinary tract infections and/or fungal infections because your HbA1c is too high? Sometimes we can turn negatives into positives. And so some women have used this issue as motivation to rebalance their T1D . Guess what? It worked! Pretty good, right? 😉

Blood sugar level, diabetes monitoring devices… Sometimes they get in the way too! 

What T1D woman hasn’t cut short a romp because Ms. Hypoglycemia got in the way? For many, these moments become anecdotes that the couple laughs about! To be able to react as quickly as possible and avoid spoiling the moment, some women leave a few sugar cubes or a carton of fruit juice in the bedside table (although you have to be in the bedroom)!

On the other hand, for some women, unexpected hyperglycemia can kill the mood of the moment or make them irritable. A small dose of insulin, a break for a few minutes and you’re off again!

What about these diabetes management devices? Many of you have had little accidents with blood glucose monitors or insulin pumps… If these devices bother you or make life difficult for you in the most intimate moments, discuss them calmly with your partner, and everything will be fine. 

I am married to a man with T1D. What does the impact of diabetes on sex life mean to me? 

A troubled sex life does not only affect the person living with T1D, but also has an impact on their partner. One of the women we spoke with is married to a man with T1D. She explains that she, too, has had to learn to adapt to the intimate problems that can arise. Understanding that her partner stops during the act because of hypoglycemia, being patient and/or adapting when certain erectile dysfunctions occur… it affects women too.

With patience and understanding, these situations can even become a source of humor!

Being a woman with type 1 diabetes and having a fulfilling sex life is possible! The secret? Good communication with your partner, and if necessary, medical and/or paramedical advice. You will then be able to get on with it in complete peace of mind!

Thanks to Delphine, Illana, Séverine, Jessica, Christine, Audrey, Anaïs, Véronique, Cheryl, Ella and Mirela for sharing your stories.

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