Below the Belt: Sexual Dysfunction Overlooked in Women With Diabetes
Among patients with diabetes, women are just as likely as men to suffer from sexual dysfunction, but their issues are overlooked, with the narrative focusing mainly on the impact of this issue on men, say experts. Women with diabetes can experience reduced sexual desire, painful sex, reduced lubrication, and sexual distress, increasing the risk of depression, and such issues often go unnoticed despite treatments being available, said Kirsty Winkley, PhD, diabetes nurse and health psychologist, King's College London, UK. There is also the "embarrassment factor" on the side of both the healthcare professional and the patient. Many women with diabetes "wouldn't necessarily know" that their sexual dysfunction "is related to their diabetes," she told Medscape Medical News.
@jiban or women, sexual health conversations are "often about contraception and pregnancy," as well as menstrual disorders, genital infections, and hormone replacement therapy. "As healthcare professionals, you're trained to focus on those things, and you're not really considering there might be sexual dysfunction. If women aren't aware that it's related to diabetes, you've got the perfect situation where it goes under the radar." However, co-chair Debbie Cooke, PhD, health psychologist at the University of Surrey in Guildford, explained that having psychotherapy embedded within the diabetes team and "integrated throughout the whole service" means that the problem can be identified and treatment offered.