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06-06-2021 | Diabetes | News | Article

Sexual dysfunction affects a third of people with diabetes

Eleanor McDermid

medwireNews: Around a third of people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes report some form of sexual dysfunction, with diabetes distress an underlying factor for both men and women, research shows.

In an online survey as part of the Diabetes MILES study (Flanders), sexual dysfunction was a stated issue for 32.2% of 174 men with type 1 diabetes, 39.7% of 237 men with type 2 diabetes, 36.0% of 242 women with type 1 diabetes, and 26.2% of 103 women with type 2 diabetes.

Presenting the findings at the virtual ATTD 2021 conference, Jolijn Van Cauwenberghe (Antwerp University Hospital, Belgium) noted that participants were only queried about sexual function if they reported being sexually active within the past 4 weeks, “probably leading to an underestimation of sexual dysfunctions.”

The most commonly reported problems were erectile dysfunction and orgasmic dysfunction in men, and decreased sexual desire, lubrication problems, and orgasmic dysfunction in women. In general, the same issues predominated regardless of whether the respondents had type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The exception was erectile dysfunction, which was more frequently reported by men with type 2 than type 1 diabetes, but the presenter attributed this to the older average age of the former group.

In men as a whole, older age, longer diabetes duration, and larger waist circumference were the only clinical parameters significantly associated with a higher likelihood of sexual dysfunction. The only associated factor in women was use of antidepressants.

In addition, women with sexual dysfunction had poor wellbeing (WHO-5 score <13) and high anxiety (General Anxiety Disorder-7 score ≥10) significantly more often than those without.

And for both sexes, people with sexual dysfunction had diabetes distress (Problem Areas In Diabetes score ≥40) significantly more often than those without, at 20.0% versus 11.9% in men and 36.0% versus 21.2% in women.

The presenter noted, however, that the online nature of the study may have skewed the cohort toward younger people who are more engaged with their diabetes, and that relying on self-report may elicit more “socially desirable” responses.

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Ltd. © 2021 Springer Healthcare Ltd, part of the Springer Nature Group

ATTD 2021; 2–5 June

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