General practice management of type 2 diabetes

Sexual problems – Women
☰ Table of contents

Clinical context

The prevalence of sexual dysfunction among women appears to be lower than among men (although studies have typically focused more on men than women), some studies show that women may experience more psychological problems compared with men, who have more physical symptoms.

Women with diabetes may also experience higher rates of sexual dysfunction than women without diabetes.

Symptoms of sexual dysfunction in women include:

  • decreased or total lack of interest in intimacy or sexual relations
  • decreased or no sensation in the genital area
  • a degree of anorgasmia
  • dryness in the vaginal area (presumably due to pelvic autonomic neuropathy), leading to dyspareunia.

Genital infections such as monilial vaginitis occur more frequently in women with diabetes and may contribute to sexual dysfunction.

Rates of depression, anxiety and psychological distress are higher in people with diabetes and may contribute to sexual dysfunction in men and women.95,260

In practice

It is important to enquire about sexual problems in the annual review and manage physical and emotional aspects.

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  2. Welch GW, Jacobson AM, Polonsky WH. The Problem Areas in Diabetes Scale. An evaluation of its clinical utility. Diabetes Care 1997;20(5):760–66.