Diabetes and Sex

Nicola Howard
Disabetes Research Network

My name is Nicola Howard. I am a type one diabetic and have lived with the condition since I was 15 months old. I work in health care, educating doctors on continual professional development. I am part of the Diabetes Research Network and am trained in diet and control of my blood sugar to be on the DAPHNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating scheme – http://www.dafne.uk.com/).
I am one of the 5% who controls my diabetes well and am thus happy to enjoy a great sex life.

Diabetes is where the body either doesn’t produce insulin or else the insulin it does produce is ineffective.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which takes away sugar from the body and keeps your blood sugar at a stable level. In type one it is rejected and in type two diabetes the insulin is inefficient.
The connection between insulin and blood sugar is that you need to keep your blood sugar at a certain level to be healthy and to enjoy a good relationship and sex life.

Early symptoms of diabetes are chronic thirst, frequent urination and tiredness.

Diabetes needs effort to control but, if managed correctly, you can do anything you want. The facts are that 33% of diabetic people ignore that they might be diabetic, 33% know they have diabetes but don’t really take care of themselves and 29% of people try to control their diabetes but fail to achieve the desired results. This leaves us with only 5% of the British population that manage their diabetes well.
4.7% of people in Britain have diabetes, fewer than most countries!

This kind of diabetes is insulin dependent and is a condition which is incurable. Type 1 diabetes effects 10% of the diabetic population in the UK.

This type of diabetes is when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or it isn’t working correctly and it is caused either by inheritance, lifestyle or obesity. Currently there are over 4 million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes. It is managed by eating less (controlled by diet or tablets) and in severe cases insulin injections.

Both types of diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction/poor or no erection. It is important to keep good control and you will be less likely to suffer from this and have a great sex life.

What I am about to describe has helped me learn to respect my body and be proud to take care of it, that is really rewarding, keeping me healthy, with 4 limbs, sight and sexual enjoyment.

Avoiding Foot Ulcers
Insoles cost as little as £25 pounds and are proven to prevent foot ulcers. You can buy them online here: – http://www.liqua-care.co.uk/faq.asp?c=0 or get them on prescription. Obviously with something as awful and painful as a foot ulcer would not help you to have a healthy and comfortable sex life as you would be in pain.

Avoiding your blood sugar getting low
If you don’t do this, you can behave very badly and can be aggressive which will frighten off potential partners, friends and actual partners if they are not warned in advance. You brain becomes dysfunctional and you can become violent. Having sex whilst your sugar is low is awful and makes you unable to achieve an orgasm.

Low blood sugar can be brought on by:

• Incorrect insulin dosage

• Ovulating/Periods

• Heat

• Not enough food/carbohydrate

• Sport or using up energy

• In the morning, if your sugar has been low in the night you will wake up feeling very groggy, lifeless and nauseous – not a good way to start the morning!

• Stress and illness usually triggers high blood sugar. This may give you extreme fatigue, thirst, feeling very irritable which will kill most sex drives!

Ever-improving blood testing kits are free from medical product companies, on prescription and from the hospitals Diabetes department.

Use the kit before driving a vehicle as, if it’s below 5.5 mm/l you could go to prison! Use it before meals to decide how much insulin to take if you are on injections.

On your own
Follow the regime recommended by your doctor very carefully.
Speak to your doctor about any problems ¬– they are there to support you, not judge you.
The cost of diabetes to the NHS is over £1.5m an hour or 10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales. This equates to over £25,000 being spent on diabetes every minute which shows that they really do care.
It is important to wear a diabetes wrist band, necklace or badge so people e.g. a new lover or the police will treat you with respect when your sugar is low and you might become aggressive.

With a partner
Ask your partner to not be afraid of hurting you because you will tell them if something hurts.
Your partner needs to understand that when your sugar gets low your behaviour might change because you lose control and cannot cope. They should:
1) Fetch Lucozade (or similar drink high in sugar).
2) Sooth you down and tell you everything will be alright, as it can be very frightening.

People with type 1 diabetes can suffer from a mental illness called diabulimia. This is when you eat but don’t take your insulin because it causes the body to gain weight. Thus you get severe complications including mental health problems. So, considering the pressure we’re under, it is hardly surprising we stress. Go to see the doctor and be proud️!

If your blood sugar isn’t controlled and you are pregnant then you can have very large babies and a difficult birth.
Also it is important to regularly get dental checks as poor control can cause gum disease and halitosis which isn’t sexy and your teeth can fall out.

Type 2 diabetes can be reversed by changing you eating habits – see https://www.diabetes.co.uk/reversing-diabetes.html

A very good example of a disasters in diabetes is Aborigines in Australia. they don’t have adequate healthcare provisions. Unfortunately by the time they get to see a doctor, they are blind and need legs amputated…. if you have good healthcare where you live, please use it as the people just mentioned don’t have this accessibility and suffer.

It’s not very sexy to lose a limb, lose your sight or no longer to be able to get an erection. Getting over these losses can take time and many people get depressed. Sometimes partners cannot cope and may leave.

This website deals with finding partners and enjoying sex when you have these conditions. Just think – once you lose your sight you won’t be able to read your blood sugar levels. Once you lose your arms, you won’t be able to inject your insulin, and nor will you be able to wank! Once you lose your erection, masturbation will also be tricky.

Do join the 5% of people who manage our diabetes well and make both the percentage rise and the quality of your life improve.