Sexual and Urologic Problems of Diabetes (cont.)
In this Article
Introduction to sexual and urological problems of diabetes
Troublesome bladder symptoms and changes in sexual function are common health problems as people age. Having diabetes can mean early onset and increased severity of these problems. Sexual and urologic complications of diabetes occur because of the damage diabetes can cause to blood vessels and nerves. Men may have difficulty with erections or ejaculation. Women may have problems with sexual response and vaginal lubrication. Urinary tract infections and bladder problems occur more often in people with diabetes. People who keep their diabetes under control can lower their risk of the early onset of these sexual and urologic problems.
Diabetes and sexual problems
Both men and women with diabetes can develop sexual problems because of damage to nerves and small blood vessels. When a person wants to lift an arm or take a step, the brain sends nerve signals to the appropriate muscles. Nerve signals also control internal organs like the heart and bladder, but people do not have the same kind of conscious control over them as they do over their arms and legs. The nerves that control internal organs are called autonomic nerves, which signal the body to digest food and circulate blood without a person having to think about it. The body's response to sexual stimuli is also involuntary, governed by autonomic nerve signals that increase blood flow to the genitals and cause smooth muscle tissue to relax. Damage to these autonomic nerves can hinder normal function. Reduced blood flow resulting from damage to blood vessels can also contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Viewers share their comments
Sex, Urinary, and Bladder Problems of Diabetes - Experience Question: What type of sexual or urinary problems have you experienced?
Sex, Urinary, and Bladder Problems of Diabetes - Men Question: As a man with diabetes, please discuss any sexual, urinary, or bladder problems you have experienced.
Sex, Urinary, and Bladder Problems of Diabetes - Women Question: If you are a woman with diabetes, what types of sexual, urinary or bladder problems have you experienced?
Sex, Urinary, and Bladder Problems of Diabetes - Prevention Question: In what ways do you try to prevent sexual, urinary or bladder problems associated with diabetes?