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Diabetes and Sexual Intimacy

By Andrews, Linda Wasmer
Content provided by: Better Medicine from Healthgrades

Sexual intimacy is an important part of life. For people with diabetes, it's necessary to pay close attention to issues concerning their sexual health. That's because damage to the nerves or blood vessels caused by diabetes can interfere with sexual function. So can certain medications used to treat diabetes-related complications. By discussing these issues with your health care provider, you can continue to enjoy this part of your lifestyle.

Men's sexual concerns

Diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves of the penis. This damage can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED), the inability to get or sustain an erection. Diabetes also increases the risk for depression, which can contribute to ED. In addition, ED may be a side effect from certain medications used to treat high blood pressure and heartburn resulting from gastroparesis--a diabetes-related stomach condition. Men with diabetes are three times more likely than those without it to have ED. They also tend to develop the problem at a younger age.

When ED is linked to nerve damage caused by diabetes, treatment options include pills, medicine inserted into the penis, a vacuum tube and pump, or surgery to implant a device inside the penis. Surgery can also be done to repair blood vessels in the area.

Related Video: Type 2 Wake-up Call

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When the risk of blindness, emergency intervention, and serious nerve damage becomes a reality, most Type 2 diabetics hear a wake-up call and respond with action.

Medical Reviewer: Medical Reviewer: Gerald W. Smetana, MD Last Annual Review Date: Last Annual Review Date: August 13, 2013 © 2013 Healthgrades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

Indications and Usage for Lantus® (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection)

Prescription Lantus® is a long-acting insulin used to treat adults with type 2 diabetes and adults and children (6 years and older) with type 1 diabetes for the control of high blood sugar. It should be taken once a day at the same time each day to lower blood glucose.

Do not use Lantus® to treat diabetic ketoacidosis.

Important Safety Information for Lantus® (insulin glargine [rDNA origin] injection)

Do not take Lantus® if you are allergic to insulin or any of the inactive ingredients in Lantus®.

You must test your blood sugar levels while using insulin, such as Lantus®. Do not make any changes to your dose or type of insulin without talking to your healthcare provider. Any change of insulin should be made cautiously and only under medical supervision.

Do NOT dilute or mix Lantus® with any other insulin or solution. It will not work as intended and you may lose blood sugar control, which could be serious. Lantus® must only be used if the solution is clear and colorless with no particles visible. Do not share needles, insulin pens or syringes with others.

The most common side effect of insulin, including Lantus®, is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which may be serious. Some people may experience symptoms such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision. Severe hypoglycemia may be serious and life threatening. It may cause harm to your heart or brain. Other possible side effects may include injection site reactions, including changes in fat tissue at the injection site, and allergic reactions, including itching and rash. In rare cases, some allergic reactions may be life threatening.

Tell your doctor about other medicines and supplements you are taking because they can change the way insulin works. Before starting Lantus®, tell your doctor about all your medical conditions including if you have liver or kidney problems, are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed.

Lantus® SoloSTAR® is a disposable prefilled insulin pen. Please talk to your healthcare provider about proper injection technique and follow instructions in the Instruction Leaflet that accompanies the pen.

Please click here or the link below for the full prescribing information for Lantus®

US.GLA.13.04.229 © 2014 sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC, A SANOFI COMPANY

Women's sexual concerns

Nerve damage and reduced blood flow in the vagina can lead to dryness. This, in turn, can cause discomfort during sexual activity. Depression may also interfere with sexual desire and response that some women experience and make it difficult to talk about. Vaginal lubricant creams may help with dryness. Your provider might recommend changes in position or Kegel exercises to strengthen muscles in the pelvic area to improve sexual response.

Talking with your doctor

If you feel uncomfortable talking about problems with your sexual health, remember that your health care provider has helped many people with diabetes resolve these issues. He or she can also recommend treatment options for depression. If you're not sure how to talk about these issues, try saying that you have a personal question you'd like to ask. Together, you and your provider can find a solution.

Medical Reviewer: [Akin, Louise RN BSN, Kelley Gaskin, RN, MSN, CPNP, Siegel, Richard, M.D.] Last Annual Review Date: 2011-04-26T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: © Health Ink & Vitality Communications

Reference: Diabetes section on Better Medicine

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