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Information for women

Women with diabetes are more likely to experience sexual problems than other women for a range of reasons. Over time, diabetes may damage the nerves and blood vessels around the vagina and clitoris. This can lead to a loss of sensation in the genital area and reduced lubrication. Genital infections such as thrush and cystitis are also more common in women with diabetes. In addition, psychological problems such as feeling low, worried or depressed may reduce interest in sex or raise fears about intimacy and sexual performance.

Women who are experiencing pain during sex, or reduced lubrication should find that using a vaginal lubricant is helpful. If using condoms, water-based lubricants only should be used (eg, KY Jelly, Durex Play).

There is no clear evidence at present that drug treatments such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis), which are used to treat sexual dysfunction in men, are a useful strategy for women with sexual problems.

If there appears to be a link between sexual problems and emotional or psychological issues, speaking to a counsellor may be a useful approach. Women with diabetes are encouraged to seek advice from their doctor or another healthcare professional if they have concerns about their sexual health.

 

Features

Driving and diabetes

Driving and diabetes
Description:
Depending on how their condition is treated, people with diabetes need to make special arrangements in order to be able to drive a car or motorbike in the UK.

Pregnancy and diabetes

Pregnancy and diabetes
Description:
Women who have diabetes are advised to take special precautions before conception and during pregnancy to reduce the chance that their diabetes will cause harm to their baby, or to themselves.

Psychotherapy services

Psychotherapy services
Description:
Psychotherapy services offered by King's College Hospital and Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals