Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

6 Ways to Support a Spouse With Diabetes

Experts and people who've been there offer tips on how to support a partner with diabetes -- without nagging.

Diabetes Support Tip No. 5: Be Prepared for Mood Swings

Low blood sugar can cause those with diabetes, especially if they're on insulin, to feel nervous, weak, confused, and irritable. Mood swings are common.

''Know that as the spouse, you will probably become the target of those swings. But understand that it's not personal,'' Weiss says.

But if mood swings become more frequent or intense, talk to your spouse about seeking counseling to look for underlying psychological distress, she adds.

Diabetes Support Tip No. 6. If Sexual Problems Arise, Talk About It

Don't ignore the damage diabetes can do to sexual relationships, Funnell says. Between 35% and 50% of men with diabetes struggle with erectile dysfunction, according to the National Institutes of Health. Wives have told Funnell, '''All of a sudden, he doesn't kiss me anymore, he doesn't hold my hand,' and they miss that. A lot of them say they miss that more than the actual sexual activity.''

She cautions women: ''It's not personal. It doesn't happen because you're no longer attractive. It's not a rejection of you. At the same time, it's one of the most devastating things in diabetes that can happen for men.''

For women with diabetes, increased vaginal dryness, discomfort during intercourse, and vaginal infections can put a damper on sex, Funnell says. So can fatigue. ''They're just worn out,'' she says. ''They don't feel very sexy. They're managing diabetes. And if their blood sugar is high, they don't have the energy.''

Also, research shows that women with diabetes believe they receive less spousal support than men with diabetes, Funnell says. That can breed resentment. ''For women, a lot of desire and satisfaction come from the mental romance of it all.''

When diabetes interferes with physical closeness, couples need to discuss it, Funnell says. Counseling may help. They should also consult a doctor about treatments for erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, low libido, and other medical problems.

1 | 2 | 3
Reviewed on January 01, 2007

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 and you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Woman holding cake
Slideshow
feet
Slideshow
 
man organizing pills
Slideshow
Close up of eye
Slideshow
 

Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections