Most experts recommend using store-bought lubricant. Women with diabetes are also prone to the same blood-flow issues men face because of nerve or blood vessel damage.
Diabetes complications may make it difficult for blood to move to the vagina and clitoris.
Not only that, but it's hard for researchers to determine whether a particular woman's low libido is a result of diabetes, emotional issues, or something else because low libido is common in women regardless of the presence of diabetes.
Here's the difference between desire and arousal: First, sexual desire must occur; the body then responds, signaling arousal. Both men and women with diabetes may feel desire but struggle with arousal problems, though the mechanisms behind this sexual dysfunction are better studied and understood in men.
"The treatment is to give testosterone, and it's amazing how that can work in diabetes," says Irwin Goldstein, MD, director of San Diego Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital and editor in chief of .
When low testosterone is treated through losing weight and/or testosterone therapy, many men have a renewed desire for sex. (Get used to hearing that.) Some studies suggest that taking testosterone can increase sexual desire in women—a 2008 article in the found that post-menopausal women had a greater sexual appetite after taking testosterone for almost six months—but the treatment is still understudied, particularly its long-term effects on women's health.
(Keep in mind: A man's ability to get and hold an erection typically wanes with age.) Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options.
Neither men nor their partners should accept male sexual dysfunction, says Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LDN, a certified diabetes educator and author of the book .
Poor diabetes control over time can damage the blood vessels and nerves—as it does in heart disease and neuropathy (nerve damage), other complications of the disease—that make arousal possible.Men and women experience low libido as a result of poorly controlled diabetes.If your sex drive is stalled, first look to your diabetes control and take steps to lower your blood glucose levels. Certain drugs, such as antidepressants, can lower sexual desire, so talk to your doctor.For an oversexed culture that isn't afraid to push boundaries on TV, in movies, on the radio, and in books and magazines, we're awfully shy about sex when it comes to our health.In fact, even though people with diabetes are at a higher risk for sexual problems, a 2010 study in the journal found that only about half of all men with diabetes and 19 percent of women with diabetes have broached the topic with a doctor.And, truth is, many doctors don't feel comfortable prodding patients for details on sexual function.It's why the newly diagnosed quickly learn about eye, nerve, kidney, and heart damage from uncontrolled diabetes, but hardly ever hear how diabetes affects sexual health.One of the main sexual problems men with diabetes face is the inability to have an erection.Damage to the vascular system can impair blood flow."If inflammatory molecules cross the blood-brain barrier and circulate in the area where there is sexual desire, then it's plausible the desire for sex may be affected." Another possible culprit: low testosterone, which often affects men and women with diabetes.Studies have shown that men with diabetes, especially those who have type 2 or are overweight, or both, have about twice the risk of low testosterone as their peers without the disease, which can affect a man's passion for sex.