Fertility and diabetes: Steps diabetic people can take to ensure sexual health

Updated on Nov 19, 2022 01:08 PM IST

Chronic uncontrolled diabetes causes complications such as nerve damage, cardiovascular problems and it is very strongly associated with infertility in both men and women. Here are steps that diabetic patients can take to ensure sexual health

Fertility and diabetes: Steps diabetic people can take to ensure sexual health (cottonbro studio)
Fertility and diabetes: Steps diabetic people can take to ensure sexual health (cottonbro studio)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Diabetes is an increasingly prevalent problem that has been associated with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. Over the time chronic uncontrolled diabetes causes complications such as nerve damage, cardiovascular problems and it is very strongly associated with sexual health problems of both men and women.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Deepika Mishra, Consultant - Birla Fertility and IVF, highlighted, “Diabetes induced hormonal and neurovascular changes leads to low levels of testosterone, decreased sexual desire, decreased energy, depression, anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, frequent lower urinary tract infections, erectile dysfunction and infertility in men.”

In women, she revealed, “It is recognized that diabetes can be detrimental to female sexuality in a multifactorial manner, including both psychologic and physiologic dimensions collectively known as Female Sexual Dysfunction (loss of libido, dyspareunia, infections). The prevalence of diabetes mellitus type 2 is ten times higher among young women with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS) than among normal women. In PCOS patients’ insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia is the root cause of all the manifestations of subfertility including androgen excess, inflammation, and anovulation.”

To overcome the adverse effects of diabetes on sexual health in both men and women, she suggested the following changes in diet and daily lifestyle as utmost essential -

1. Good blood sugar control by drugs like oral hypoglycemic agents, insulin sensitizers and insulin injections

2. Dietary modification by high fiber and low glycemic index food intake (green leafy and salad vegetables, carrots, beans, peas, broccoli, leeks, funnels and asparagus, whole fresh fruits, and nuts)

3. Regular exercises

4.Yoga and meditation

5. To avoid sedentary lifestyle

6. Proper and sound sleep of 8-10 hours

7. Stop any addiction like smoking, alcohol, excessive caffeine intake

8. Stress relieving habits like book reading and listening to music

9. Medical treatment for specific sexual health problems like erectile dysfunction and vaginismus

10.Psychological counselling regarding sexual health issues

According to Dr Shreedevi Tanksale, Director - Obstetrics and Gynecology and Infertility specialist at Little Miracles Fertility Clinic, insisted, “The burden of diabetes is increasing globally. Indians are having increased prevalence of overweight/obesity and unhealthy lifestyles leading to diabetes. Most commonly reported sexual issues in diabetics are vaginal infections, dryness, recurrent urinary tract infections, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction and infertility.”

Adding to the list of steps to ensure safe sexual health, she recommended:

1. Safe sex practices - use barrier contraceptive. The use of Male and/or female condoms prevents sexually transmitted infections along with unwanted pregnancies

2. Monogamous relationship – avoid having multiple sexual partners

3. HPV Vaccination – Human Papilloma Virus is the most common cause of Genital warts and cervical cancer. Both can be easily prevented with complete dose of vaccination

4. Maintain personal hygiene – use of vaginal wash to maintain optimal vaginal pH to prevent repeated infections

5. Pre and probiotics - they help to maintain healthy vaginal flora which prevent vaginal infections

6. Regular follow up with gynecologist - regular checkup from gynecologist to perform pap smear as screening for cervical cancer

7. Maintain optimum sugar levels with regular follow up with diabetologist

8. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms like excess weight gain, excess thirst, and urination, repeated vaginal or urinary infections

9. Regular exercise 45-60 mins/day. Five times a week

10. Follow diabetic diet - make sure to follow a healthy diet given by nutritionist

Do not shy away from these symptoms. Diabetes can be easily controlled with disciplined diet, exercise, and medication. You can lead a healthy sexual life.

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