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Female Sexual Dysfunction and Diabetes

Diabetic women are more likely to have sexual problems than women without diabetes, according to Italian researchers.

They are also more likely to have lower scores on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), a standardized assessment of female sexual health, than their non-diabetic counterparts. Lower scores on the FSFI mean more sexual problems.

However, the relationship between diabetes and female sexual dysfunction is still poorly understood, the researchers say.

The connection has been studied since the early 1980s. And the FSFI is a current standard tool used to evaluate women’s sexual arousal, excitement, satisfaction, lubrication, orgasm, and pain.

But while connections have been shown in most studies, other researchers have not been able to confirm this link.

To investigate this further, the Italian researchers examined twenty-six studies published between 1983 and 2012. Combined, the studies included data on 3,168 diabetic women and 2,823 women who didn’t have diabetes.

Diabetic Women Are More Lkely To Have Sexual Problems

The researchers found that the majority of the studies found sexual dysfunction to be more frequent for the diabetic women, although they added that this finding was “not unanimous.”

Most studies also reported that diabetic women’s FSFI scores were lower than those of non-diabetic women, but again, this finding was not unanimous.

Few studies investigated the way complications of diabetes affect women’s sexual health. The researchers felt that neuropathy – a problem with nerves that is common in diabetics - was an important factor, but because the studies were so diverse, it couldn’t be analyzed further.

The authors suggested that future research could focus on other complications of diabetes, such as obesity and depression, which may interfere with women’s sex lives.

The Italian study was published online in January in theJournal of Sexual Medicine.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Pontiroli, Antonio E., et al.

“Female Sexual Dysfunction and Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”

(Full-text. First published online: January 24, 2013)