Women with diabetes are less likely to be sexually satisfied than their non-diabetic counterparts, according to a new study which suggests the disease can affect the sex lives of women too.
To examine the relationship between diabetes and sexual function in women, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), surveyed nearly 2,270 diabetic and non-diabetic women aged 40 to 80 years on their sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity, overall sexual satisfaction, and sexual problems.
They found that the number of women experiencing low overall sexual satisfaction was twice as high in women taking insulin to treat their diabetes, and 40 per cent higher in non-insulin treated diabetics compared to those who were non-diabetic .
No differences between sexual desire and frequency of sexual activity were reported between the diabetic and non-diabetic groups.
In terms of sexual problems, however, those treated with insulin were more than twice as likely to report difficulty with lubricatio, and 80 per cent more likely to have difficulty achieving orgasm than those without diabetes.
The study did not distinguish whether or not a participant had type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but the UCSF researchers presumed that the majority were suffering from the type 2 form due to the type of insulin they were taking.
Study author Kelli Copeland, of the UCSF Women’s Health Clinical Research Center, said: “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.”
The research is published in the August issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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