SAN FRANCISCO CA – It’s been known for some time that diabetes can be the cause of erectile dysfunction in men, but until Wednesday (July 25, 2012) little was known about the disease’s effects on sexual activity in women. A new survey conducted at and announced by the University of California at San Francisco indicates women with diabetes are just as interested in having sex as non-diabetic women, but may be less satisfied with the experience.
Researchers at the UCSF Women’s Health Clinical Research Center surveyed 2,270 women between the ages of 40 and 80 who were insulin-treated diabetic, non-insulin-treated diabetic, or non-diabetic women, and compared their self-reported sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity, overall sexual satisfaction, and specific sexual problems.
Among their discoveries in sexually active women, those who were insulin-treated diabetics were more than twice as likely to report difficulty with lubrication, and 80 percent more likely to report difficulty achieving orgasm compared to non-diabetic women, after adjusting for demographic and clinical factors.
They also found that, among all diabetic women, end-organ complications such as heart disease, stroke, renal dysfunction, and peripheral neuropathy were associated with decreased sexual function in at least one domain.
The disease has the potential to affect sexual function in women through vascular changes in urogenital tissues affecting lubrication, and alterations in genital arousal response. Sexual function also may be adversely affected by diabetes medications or other interventions directed at monitoring or treating the disease, according to the research team.
“Based on this research, clinicians may want to consider assessing diabetic women for sexual problems, particularly among those taking insulin, and counsel them that prevention of end-organ complications may be important in preserving sexual function,” researchers advised.
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This article is one of several about diabetes prevention, diagnosis and care based on advance and live reporting Aug. 1-4, 2012, by The Post Publications from the American Association of Diabetes Educators 2012 conference in Indianapolis IN. Follow us on Twitter at @PostsOnHealth; we’re using the hashtag #PostsAADE2012 to identify conference Tweets. Follow us on Facebook at The Post Publications. See the entire series here.