Lee Shulman, MD, FACOG, FACMG
Lee P. Shulman MD is a Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Clinical Genetics at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He also serves as the Medical Director of Insight Medical Genetics and Reproductive Genetics Innovations. Dr. Shulman is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy. A Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a Founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics, Dr. Shulman is a member of numerous regional, national and international organizations that pertain to the health and care of women and families. His work has been recognized regionally and nationally; most recently, he was again included in the list of “Top Doctors” in Chicago (2007-22) and America (2005-22). Dr. Shulman served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals from 2006-2008, is a Past President of the Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a Past Chair of the Fetoscopy Working Group. He currently serves as the Treasurer of the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis. A frequent contributor to the peer-reviewed and informational literature with over 200 peer-reviewed articles and 60 book chapters, Dr. Shulman’s major research interests are in reproductive and cancer genetics, contraception and reproductive medicine, menopause, women’s healthcare advocacy and botanical interventions in women’s health.Full Bio
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I'm beginning to suspect that my diabetes is affecting my interest in sex. Is this possible?
Perhaps. Several studies that used questionnaires to evaluate sexual function found that women with diabetes are more likely to report sexual problems, including lower desire, than women without. One study found that nearly 78 percent of women with type 2 diabetes had low libido compared to just 20 percent of women without type 2 diabetes. Another found that only about a third of women with type 2 diabetes reported they had a "strong" sex drive, while 70 percent said their sex drive was weak. The figures were nearly exactly the opposite in women without diabetes. Women with diabetes also had more difficulty reaching orgasm and were much less likely than women without diabetes to describe sex as satisfying.
Numerous reasons could be behind the differences, including lack of lubrication, possibly from insufficient blood flow to the vaginal area. In one study, only a third of women with diabetes said they achieved vaginal lubrication "easily," compared to 78 percent of a control group. In addition, one study comparing genital arousal in women with diabetes and those without showed that women with diabetes reported fewer sensations in their clitoris.
Mental and physical factors may also affect sexual desire. General health status, depression, hormonal status and the use of prescription medicines and recreational drugs may hinder sexual desire as well. I encourage you to talk to your health care professional about your concerns and ask if there are any medical or psychological options to improve your sexual desire. I also encourage you to talk with your partner and offer reassurance that your lack of interest isn't caused by anything your partner is or isn't doing. Remember, communication is one of the most important components to a healthy sexual relationship.