This Morning: Type 2 diabetes can be ‘devastating’ says expert
Type 2 diabetes can seem harmless at first glance because the symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell. In fact, you can live with the chronic condition for years without knowing it. Diabetes only tends to assert itself when blood sugar levels are consistently high. When this occurs a number of sexual symptoms may be apparent in both men and woman.
Sexual and bladder problems are common as one ages, however having type 2 diabetes can make these problems even worse.
You or your partner may have trouble having or enjoying sex.
Or, you may leak urine or have trouble emptying your bladder normally.
Blood vessels and nerves can be damaged by the effects of high blood sugar.
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Changes in sexual function or bladder habits may be an early sign of type 2 diabetes.
Nerve damage caused by diabetes, also called diabetic neuropathy, can damage parts of the body including the genitals or urinary tract.
Men with diabetes may develop erectile dysfunction 10 to 15 years earlier than men without diabetes.
For woman, low sexual desire and response, vaginal dryness, and painful sex can be caused by nerve damage causing a reduction in blood flow to the genitals.
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The most common type of sexual problem in men is erectile dysfunction (sometimes known as impotence). This is when you can’t get or keep an erection – early signs could be if you start to lose your morning erection.
As Diabetes UK explains: “Having high sugar levels for a period of time can damage your blood vessels and nerves, including the ones that supply your penis.
“This can restrict the amount of blood flowing to your sexual organs, so you can lose some sensation.”
It adds: “This could mean you have difficulty getting aroused, both physically and in how you feel.”
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) can also be a symptom of type 2 diabetes.
The painful condition can develop when the tubes that run from your kidneys to the bladder get infected.
UTI’s aren’t sexually transmitted but having sexual intercourse is one way that gut bacteria can get into the urinary tract.
UTIs are caused by type 2 diabetes due to sugars running high.
“You can avoid getting a UTI by keeping your blood sugar as close to your target as you can.
“As well as that, drink plenty of fluids and don’t hold on to your pee if you need to go to the toilet,” added Diabetes UK.
Both genders can also be more susceptible to thrush which is a fungal infection in your private parts.
This can occur when high sugar levels in the urine acts as the perfect hotspot for bacteria to grow.
In men, the tip of the penis and under the foreskin can become sore and itchy.
There may be white patches on the head of the penis, and it may be difficult to pull the foreskin back.
If experiencing any unusual sexual symptoms it’s important to discuss it further with your healthcare professional.
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