Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Women, Sex, and Diabetes

Men aren't the only ones who have sexual problems as a result of diabetes.
WebMD Feature

When most people hear the words “diabetes and sexual dysfunction," they automatically think it's the man's problem. But women with diabetes can also have sexual problems related to their blood sugar levels.

For diabetes educator Ann Albright, PhD, RD, that’s not only a medical fact; it’s a fact of life.

Also See:

Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause debilitating nerve pain.

Here's some helpful information:

Living with type 1 diabetes for 41 years, Albright says that when glucose isn’t under good control, a woman’s sex life can pay the price.

“It’s not diabetes per se that harms your intimate life. It’s the complications of uncontrolled blood sugar levels that cause problems for both men and women -- the only difference is that many women simply aren’t as aware of this complication as men are,” she says. Albright also is the president of health education for the American Diabetes Association.

She says women are getting better at coming forward with intimacy issues. But when it comes to diabetes, most are still reluctant to talk to their doctor.

Endocrinologist Loren Wissner Greene agrees. “Women aren’t talking to their doctors about it, doctors aren’t talking to women about it, and so for many it remains a silent problem that goes undiagnosed and untreated.” Greene is a clinical associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

When Glucose and Intimacy Collide

Although women with diabetes may be slow to admit there is a problem between the sheets, the medical community has been even slower to study the issue. It wasn’t until 1971 that a groundbreaking study was published on this subject in the journal Diabetes.

In the study, 35% of women with diabetes reported being unable to have an orgasm during intercourse, compared to just 6% of the women who didn't have diabetes.

Albright says one reason women with diabetes may have trouble achieving orgasm is that high blood sugars can affect vaginal lubrication.

“The lubrication issues not only can impact sensation, they also can make sex very uncomfortable, even painful,” she says.

In a 1986 study now considered a cornerstone of research on the topic, nearly half the women who participated had a sexual problem. Of these, 32% said they had problems with lubrication. Eighty-nine percent said the problems started after their diabetes diagnosis.

Albright says there are many health benefits of good blood sugar control, but many women don’t realize that better lubrication, and, ultimately, a better sex life, may be among them.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner