Joslin Answers Your Questions

Joslin Diabetes Center experts answer commonly asked questions about diabetes monitoring, treatment, self-care, meal planning, and more.
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Topic: General Concerns
Question: I'm a 60-year-old woman, and I've had type 1 diabetes for 36 years. My question is rather personal: I love my husband, but find that lately I've been avoiding having intimate relations because, frankly, it's uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I want us to continue having a healthy sexual relationship. Is this problem caused by my diabetes?

Answer: There are many reasons why women may experience pain with sexual intercourse. Vaginal dryness and infection are probably the two most common reasons. It is important to see your healthcare provider to determine the cause of your discomfort.

Vaginal yeast infections and other bacterial infections are more common among women with diabetes and can exist even if you are not sexually active. Any infection needs to be promptly treated. If the discomfort is from vaginal dryness, your provider can discuss ways to treat this, as well. Vaginal dryness is more common in postmenopausal women, and treatment may be as simple as using an over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer or lubricant. Talk to your doctor about the best way to treat dryness.

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