Diabetic women less satisfied with sex: study

Women with diabetes are just as interested in sexual activity as non-diabetic women, but derive lower sexual satisfaction, a new study has claimed.

Researchers from University of California, San Francisco found that diabetes can affect sexual function in women through a variety of mechanisms and diabetic women receiving insulin treatment were at higher risk for the specific complications of lubrication and orgasm.

“Diabetes is a recognised risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men, but there have been almost no data to indicate whether it also affects sexual function in women,” senior author Alison J Huang, from the UCSF Women’s Health Clinical Research Centre.

The study is available online in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.
It found that diabetes causes vascular changes in the 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, the research team said in a University statement. The researchers sent a questionnaire to 2,270 women aged 40 to 80 years.

Among the participants, 486 (21.4 per cent) had diabetes, and, of those, 139 (6.1 per cent) were taking insulin. Overall, 63.7 per cent of participants reported some sexual activity in the past three months.

The odds of reporting low overall sexual satisfaction were more than two-fold higher in insulin-treated diabetic women, and more than 40 per cent higher in non-insulin treated diabetic women, compared to non-diabetic women.

No significant differences in sexual desire or frequency of sexual activity by diabetes status were observed, after the investigators took into account other differences in participants’ demographic background and medical histories.

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