Saturday, February 19, 2011

Taboo Topic- Diabetes and Sexual Health

"Link to Hand Out"
Well maybe it is not taboo - But thought I'd talk about it. 

Where did this blog topic arise from in my brain, you ask?  A commercial, well numerous ones, about happy men, taking little pills, and suddenly, their marital life suddenly appears blissful and fabulous.  Lets just say it got me thinking, which is never a good thing.

I get asked a lot of questions from PWD(people with diabetes) about everthing, including sexual health.

PWD hear all sorts of things, like, you can't have a child now since you have Type 1---Just visit the The Blog "Six Until Me" to dispel this myth.

I have even been told I would have trouble "making" kids. Hmmm, I obviously have gone above and beyond in this department.

I remember doing a guest lecture, a very long time ago, to a huge group of nursing students. They of course, were all hormonally charged individuals, and one fine young student posed the question, "Can you have sex when you are on an insulin pump?" I immediately pulled my shirt up, disconnected my pump and passed it around the class. I replied, " I have lots of it, I usually disconnect it first, but sometimes it comes along for the ride"  I definitely wasn't invited back.  But they enjoyed the talk.

All kidding aside.  Does Diabetes effect your sexual life, or sexual health? 

Depends. It depends on the PWD's ability to achieve tight control, and prevent all complications associated with diabetes.

This is so case dependent. We always hear about, and discuss; Eyes, Feet, Kidneys, Blood Pressure, A1C, etc. But we very rarely hear about sexual health. I say rarely, because I have never been asked.  I ask my patients. But I, a Type 1 diabetic for 28 years have never, ever been asked the question, "How is your penis working?" I must say it isn't the easiest question to ask. But it is important.

 I have seen stats that 50 % of all men over 40 have issues with ED(erectile dysfuncion) So I am glad that the media is creating some awareness for physicians and patients to breach this important issue.

Diabetes can, with out a doubt effect any organ in your body where blood is circulated. The penis is no exception. 

An article written by J.Robin Conway and Danielle Pacaud in Canadian Diabetes state:

"One common factor between men and women with diabetes is that sexual dysfunction
is underdiagnosed and undertreated."

 The authors go on to say regarding some of the differences between the genders:

"Women with diabetes and sexual dysfunction
have different concerns and needs
than men. In women with diabetes, sexual
dysfunction is most closely related to psychosocial
problems and depression"


"ED is primarily a vascular and neuropathic disease; as with other microvascular complications of diabetes, the best treatment is prevention."
 There are other issues for PWD as well, like yeast infections, increased urinary tract infections, mood, but as I have said before this is a blog, not a book.


J.Robin Conway, Danielle Pacaud (2006) Canadian Diabetes, An Undisclosed Affair: Sexual Dysfunction In Diabetes.  Link to Article


Wendy said...

HI FIVE from one RN to another! Way to break barriers :)

Love your blog...keep the helpful information coming!

On the -- ehum -- subject...we have 4 daughters (3 together, and I have a step-daughter). The last was an unexpected blessing...hubs (non-d) scheduled a vasectomy right after we found out (I was 14 weeks!!!) and when I picked him up the doctor told me we were having a girl. I looked at him wondering how, pray tell, he would know such a thing...he told me that, due to his "anatomy", he was surprised any swimmers made it, but there was NO WAY male swimmers would because they're too lazy.

Yup. He has 4 daughters. Your post just made me think about that conversation with his doctor...oh yeah, and the fact that you have 5 girls :)

Amy said...

Brave man . . . . brave man.

Seriously, I DO appreciate the insight. Heck, one of the first things I thought about when I first saw an insulin pump was "What do you do with that thing when you want to have a Barry White moment?" Then I had to plug my ears and shake my head because my a yucky vision of my 8yo TID daughter popped into my head and I thought . . . . that will be her problem!

Way to put it out there. ::ahem:: the subject out there . . . yep. Good job.

Sarah said...

Funny husband and I were both told that we'd have trouble conceiving (his due to t1d mine for other reasons), nope - no problem there! But really it is an interesting topic and I would like to add that one part people don't consider is the effect of adrenaline and hormones on BG and yes, adrenaline does come into play with sex. So, we've definitely had to think about d sometimes while having those intimate moments, even stop to check BG a time or two...or have a snack, sorry if TMI, but it's the reality of d, right?!