The bitter effect of diabetes on sex life

Along with six-figure paycheques, a swanky car and frequent holidays in exotic destinations, a good sex life is also one of the prime desires of millennials. But the poor lifestyle choices we make in the pursuit of these dreams often get reflected in various diseases, diabetes being the most common among them.

According to a 2016 WHO report, the global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7% to 8.5%, with 422 million adults afflicted with the disease — approximately one out of every 11 people.

In India, approximately 120 million people are estimated to fall prey to the ‘silent ailment’. However, the true impact of the disease might be much larger, given that a significant number of cases remain undiagnosed, unless various symptoms rear their head, such as deteriorating sexual health.

From reduced libido to erectile dysfunction, the origin of countless sexual problems can be traced to diabetes in its various forms.

Being unsatisfied in bed breeds a lot of tension among partners, due to the frustration and emotional inadequacy accompanying it.

Over a course of time, such underlying troubles tend to cause bigger problems, often becoming the cause of daily bickering, arguments to even separation.

Sex and divorce are arguably two of the most emotionally charged subjects of our time, and when combined with a disease long left untreated, they create a dangerous cocktail that has the ability to ruin relationships forever.

Read on to know about the steps you can take to identify whether diabetes is the culprit behind your declining sexual health and what you can do to not remain ‘out in the cold’ anymore:

Talk to a doctor: Before trying out a variety of medications or herbs to improve your libido again, consult a doctor to be certain about the cause. Feeling embarrassed will not solve the problem, but talking to an expert surely will.

Individuals should not be afraid to talk about the problems they are facing and need to provide their complete medical history for accurate results.

Preferably, a urologist should be the first person one needs to consult who can then provide a guidance for further medical procedures. If one still feels hesitant in discussing their sexual problems face-to-face with a doctor, they can also use technology-enabled solutions and apps, like DocsApp, that allow one to communicate privately over chat with a specialist.

Inspect your current medications: Sometimes, diabetes medications might cause reduced sexual desire. It is important to enquire about the effects of every prescribed medicine before long-term consumption causes irreparable damage to one’s sexual drive.

Quit smoking and drinking: Along with making your diabetes worse, too much smoking or drinking can have a significant detrimental impact on your libido. These poor habits cause damage to the small blood vessels, affecting the flow of blood. This leads to reduced flow of blood to the genital area, resulting in an individual feeling low on energy, also causing erectile dysfunction.

Start exercising: Regular exercise is extremely important for patients suffering from diabetes. It improves blood flow, keeps cholesterol at bay and releases anabolic hormones, endorphins and boosts brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), improving one’s cognitive function.

It also helps build stamina for better sexual experiences and keeps the mind and body healthy to engage with your partner in a much more passionate way.

Seek psychological counselling: Feeling down and out, lost or depressed? Diabetes can manifest itself in many ways, decreased sexual desire being one of them.

It is important that individuals suffering from lack of confidence, loneliness or going through a bad phase in life seek psychological counseling to recover from the ‘blues’ and be at their best, in bed or otherwise!

Get enough sleep: It is necessary to get a good sleep. If the body is tired, it is inevitable to not be able to perform. Therefore, it is recommended to at least get seven hours of sleep every night.

Eating healthy: Intake of a nutritious and balanced diet helps to stay healthy, which will overall reduce the likelihood of erectile dysfunction.

(The writer is MD, Psychiatry and Sexology, DocsApp)

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