Sex, Urinary, and Bladder Problems of Diabetes

Food to Improve Your Sex Drive

Medical Author: Betty Kovacs, MS, RD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Viewer Question: Is there anything I can eat to improve my sex drive?

Doctor's Response: If the recipe for a better sex drive was found in food, grocery shopping would take on a whole new meaning! This is a great question that has some compelling and some controversial answers.

Before deciding which to foods to try, you will need to figure out if there is an underlying cause for lack of sex drive. And the best person to help you with this would be your doctor. The compelling answers are based on research and often revolve around uncontrolled medical conditions. Fortunately, your diet is a key factor in controlling many of these conditions. Here are some examples:


  • Men who have diabetes are three times more likely to have erectile dysfunction as men who do not have diabetes.
  • As many as 35% of women with diabetes may experience decreased or absent sexual response.
  • Keeping your blood sugar under control is the key. A diet rich in vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and fresh fruit and with limited quantities of sugar, refined grains, and processed foods is one of the keys to this.

Sexual and urological problems of diabetes facts*

*Sexual and urological problems of diabetes facts Medically Edited by: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

  • Sexual and urologic complications of diabetes occur because of the damage diabetes can cause to blood vessels and nerves.
  • Both women and men can develop sexual problems from diabetes.
  • Sexual problems in men with diabetes include erectile dysfunction and retrograde ejaculation.
  • Sexual problems in women with diabetes include vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, decreased libido, and decreased or absent sexual response.
  • People with diabetes may experience bladder problems such as overactive bladder, poor control of sphincter muscles that surround the urethra, urine retention, and urinary tract infections.
  • Those people with diabetes who are at risk of sexual or urologic problems include people who have poor glucose and blood pressure control; have high levels of cholesterol; are overweight, are over the age of 40 years, those that smoke, and lack of physical activity.
  • Individuals with diabetes can lower their risk of sexual and urologic problems by controlling glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers; being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight; and smoking cessation.

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