• Can bladder and sexual problems are symptoms of diabetes?
• When should the patient see a doctor about their sexual or bladder problems?
• What makes patients more vulnerable to sexual or bladder problems?
• Can men and women have bladder problems with diabetes?
• How can the patient prevent and treat her sexual or bladder problems?
Sexual problems and bladder problems are common as people age, but diabetes can make them worse. The patient or their partner may have problems having or enjoying sex, or they may leak urine or have difficulty emptying the bladder normally.
The effects of high blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, can damage blood vessels and nerves. This damage can cause sexual and bladder problems. Keeping blood glucose concentrations within the target range is an important way to prevent damage to blood vessels and nerves.
The patient should work with their health care team to help prevent or treat sexual and bladder problems. These problems could be a sign that the patient needs to control her diabetes in a different way. The patient should be aware that a healthy sex life and a healthy bladder can improve their quality of life, so take action now if these issues are troubling you.
Can bladder and sexual problems be symptoms of diabetes?
Yes. Changes in sexual function or bladder habits can be a sign that the patient has diabetes. Nerve damage caused by diabetes, also known as diabetic neuropathy, can damage parts of the body, such as the genital organs or urinary tract.
1.The patient should see a healthcare professional if they have symptoms of diabetes, including bladder and sexual problems.
When should the patient see a doctor about their sexual or bladder problems?
The patient should see a healthcare professional if he or she has problems with sexual intercourse or with the bladder. These problems could be a sign that the patient needs to control his diabetes in a different way. It may be embarrassing and difficult for you to talk about these things; however, keep in mind that healthcare professionals are trained to talk to people about all kinds of health problems. All people deserve to have healthy relationships and enjoy the activities they enjoy.
What makes the patient more likely to develop sexual or bladder problems?
The patient is more likely to develop bladder or sexual problems if they have diabetes and:
• a high level of glucose in the blood that is not well controlled, which is also known as high blood sugar level
• have nerve damage, also known as neuropathy
• High cholesterol, which is not being treated
• are overweight or obese
• is not physically active
• are taking certain medications
• drink too many alcoholic beverages
Research also suggests that certain genes may increase the likelihood that people will develop diabetic neuropathy.2
Changes in blood vessels, nerves, hormones, and emotional health during diabetes can make it difficult for men to have satisfying sex. Also, diabetes and its related challenges could make it harder for them to have a child.
The patient has erectile dysfunction if he cannot achieve or maintain an erection firm enough to have satisfactory intercourse.Men with diabetes are more than 3 times more likely to develop erectile dysfunction than men without diabetes.1 Good control of diabetes can help prevent and treat erectile dysfunction caused by nerve damage and problem traffic. A doctor can help treat erectile dysfunction with medicine or with a change in your diabetes care plan.
In rare cases, diabetes can cause retrograde ejaculation NIH external link, which occurs when some or all of the semen enters the bladder instead of exiting the penis during ejaculation. During retrograde ejaculation, semen enters the bladder, mixes with urine, and comes out during urination without a problem. A urine sample after ejaculation can indicate whether the patient has retrograde ejaculation. Some men with retro cheers may not ejaculate at all.
The curvature of the penis
Men with diabetes are more likely to have Peyronie’s disease, also known as curvature of the penis, than are men without diabetes.3 Men with Peyronie’s disease have scar tissue, or plaque, on the penis, which makes it curved when erect. The curvature in the penis can make intercourse painful or difficult.
Low testosterone level
Men’s NIH external link testosterone levels naturally decline with age. However, in some men, these lower-than-normal testosterone concentrations may be the cause of erectile dysfunction or may explain why some men often feel tired, depressed NIH external link, or have a low sex drive.
If the doctor thinks the patient may have a low testosterone level, he or she will likely order a blood sample, and a health care professional will do a physical exam. Your doctor may suggest that you treat your low testosterone with a prescription gel, injection, or patch.
Several studies show that, along with good diabetes control, testosterone therapy can decrease sexual problems in men.4 However, testosterone therapy can have serious risks External links and may not be safe for all men.