Diabetes and Low Libido May Go Hand-in-Hand
Managing type 2 diabetes can be difficult enough without having to worry about sexual side effects, but often with diabetes low sex drive results. Many people believe that, once diagnosed with an illness such as diabetes, a healthy sex life becomes less of a priority. However, the opposite is true. In fact, sex can be quite healthy and good for anyone, especially those with health concerns like diabetes.
Sexuality and the closeness experienced during sexual activity are important for overall human outlook and quality of life. A healthy sex life can help anyone feel better, stronger and more prepared for life's ups and downs. Such activity is also immensely helpful in maintaining relationships which may otherwise be slightly strained by a chronic illness.
Diabetes Low Sex Drive Issues Affect Both Genders
Both men and women are affected sexually by a diabetes diagnosis. With diabetes low sex drive effects may be specific to men and women. Some effects are experienced by both genders. The diabetes low sex drive effects experienced more widely by both genders diagnosed with diabetes include:
- Low libido, a lack of desire: This may be caused by medications, depression, extreme fatigue, low energy, hormonal changes or emotional health issues such as stress or anxiety.
- Diabetic neuropathy, diminished feeling or numbness in the genitals: This can make sex seem purposeless, as no sensations may be experienced or it can even become painful.
- Broken intimacy or communication in couples: This often happens in diagnosis of a chronic illness, when one member of the coupling moves into a caregiving role and the other becomes seen as the patient.
Sexual Issues for Men with Diabetes
Men may experience their own set of sexual issues after diagnosis with type 2 diabetes. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most widely experienced issue for diabetic men. While vascular damage from the disease may be the cause of such a problem, other factors may be at play. Often, such dysfunction is actually caused by other health factors associated with diabetes. These are called "co-morbidities." Such comorbid conditions include emotional stress, obesity, high blood pressure and lack of exercise. Medication side effects or changes in testosterone levels can cause ED. In fact, low testosterone is at times attributed to type 2 diabetes and, at times, indicated as a sign of the disease. It seems that low testosterone and type 2 diabetes exist in a sort of symbiotic relationship in men.
Sexual Problems for Women with Diabetes
Hormonal changes and blood flow issues associated with diabetes affect women sexually. Vaginal dryness is the most commonly experienced problem for these women. Increased incidences of infection and inflammation are also problems for females. Dryness or such infection and inflammation can make intercourse and other sexual activity painful, if not impossible.
Overcoming Diabetes-Associated Sexual Problems
Many of the sexual issues associated with diabetes can be resolved through healthier living. Some of the issues occur even in healthy men and women without diabetes and are thus treatable through non-medical means. Of course, as a diabetic has sensitivities and needs associated with their disease management, consultation with a qualified healthcare provider is always the first step. To help improve some of the sexual problems' possible causes, there are simple methods anyone can use. Some of the non-medical means include:
- Improve energy and reduce fatigue
- Improve libido naturally
- Stay healthy enough to have and want sex
The Role of Natural Supplements in Sexual Health
In recent years, a 2000 year old remedy for sexual health and vitality has come to the forefront of western medicine. The maca plant, cultivated in South America over 2000 years ago and farmed since 1600 BC for its medicinal purposes, has long been known to support a healthy sex drive in both men and women. This herbal supplement may also boost libido for those affected by type 2 diabetes, with the approval of their physician. Maca was believed by Incas to be miraculous in its support of sexuality, stamina and energy. The Peruvian tuber plant has long been used to provide the following benefits:
- Maintenance of healthy sexual desire and libido-related sexual performance
- Support of healthy energy levels
- Improved levels of sexual desire and pleasure
- Heightened feelings of general well-being
- Stress reduction
Many other natural plants can help alleviate concerns specifically related to healthy female male sexuality. The following herbs and nutrients may prove beneficial for their male sexuality-enhancing attributes:
- Panax ginseng is believed to boost male sexual satisfaction.
- Fenugreek is traditionally used as an aphrodisiac and to boost libido, as well as to help maintain healthy testosterone levels.
- Saw palmetto has been shown to help support a healthy prostate and provides mild aphrodisiac properties.
- Muira puama is beneficial as an aphrodisiac to boost libido and arousal.
- Stinging nettle helps support a healthy prostate and maintains healthy testosterone levels.
- Tribulus is used to support healthy testosterone levels.
- Boron is necessary for maintaining healthy sperm count and reproductive function.
- Zinc is very important in prostate health and may also help promote healthy male fertility and arousal.
Key natural ingredients specific to women's sexual health include:
- Damiana which has, according to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, been used in the US for aphrodisiac qualities and healthy libido support since 1874.
- Ginger, which has been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient Greece and Rome. Ginger is also said to support healthy blood flow, nerve ending stimulation and bodily secretion flow, all of which contribute to a more enjoyable sexual activity.
- Lavender, which can relieve stress and also contains estrogenic components that may help with hormonal balance.
- Passion flower, which relaxes and calms and may relieve occasional sleeplessness.
- Avena sativa, which is a mild aphrodisiac and is sometimes used to help maintain healthy levels of the sex hormone testosterone.
- Tyrosine, for its alleviation of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms, to boost libido and enhance libido-related performance.
- Eleuthro root, for its possible ability to support healthy hormone levels in the body.