Diabetic women are just as keen on sexual activity as their non-diabetic sisters, but tend to experience lower sexual satisfaction, says a study.
University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers also found that diabetic women receiving insulin treatment were at higher risk for the specific complications of lubrication and orgasm.
"Diabetes is a recognized risk factor for erectile dysfunction in men, but there have been almost no data to indicate whether it also affects sexual function in women," said senior study author Alison J. Huang, assistant professor of medicine at the UCSF, the journal Obstetrics and Gynaecology reported.
Huang, lead author Kelli Copeland, of the UCSF Women's Health Clinical Research Centre and their colleagues examined the relationship of diabetes to sexual function in an ethnically diverse group of middle-aged and older women, according to a university statement.
Researchers sent a questionnaire to 2,270 women aged 40 to 80 years who were insulin-treated diabetic, non-insulin-treated diabetic or non diabetic women, and then compared their self-reported sexual desire, frequency of sexual activity, overall sexual satisfaction, and specific sexual problems (difficulty with lubrication, arousal, orgasm, or pain).
They also assessed the relationships between diabetic end-organ complications (heart disease, stroke, renal dysfunction, and peripheral neuropathy) and sexual function.
Among the 2,270 participants, 486 (21.4 percent) had diabetes, and, of those, 139 (6.1 percent) were taking insulin. Overall, 63.7 percent of participants reported some sexual activity in the past three months.
The odds of reporting low overall sexual satisfaction were more than two-fold higher in insulin-treated diabetic women, and more than 40 percent higher in non-insulin treated diabetic women, compared to non-diabetic women.
Among sexually active women, insulin-treated diabetic women were more than twice as likely to report difficulty with lubrication, and 80 percent more likely to report difficulty achieving orgasm compared to non-diabetic women, after adjusting for the same demographic and clinical factors.
Among all diabetic women, end-organ complications such as heart disease, stroke, renal dysfunction, and peripheral neuropathy were associated with decreased sexual function in at least one domain.