The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Continued)
Treatment of Vaginal Infections
If this is the first time that you have had a vaginal infection, see your health professional to confirm your suspicions. He or she may suggest a vaginal exam and test your urine or any discharge to be certain of the diagnosis. Oral antibiotics will help cure a UTI, and over-the-counter medications can treat yeast infections.
Here are a few treatment suggestions:
1. Maintain your blood glucose levels as close to your target range as possible. High levels encourage the growth of unwanted bacteria.
2. Avoid tight underwear, pantyhose, pants, or shorts that restrict the flow of air.
3. Wear all-cotton underwear.
4. Drink artificially sweetened cranberry juice to help treat and prevent urinary tract infections.
5. Eat a daily serving of low fat yogurt. Be sure that it contains active cultures. It may help prevent future vaginal infections.
6. Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to avoid contaminating the vaginal area with any bacteria from the rectal region.
7. Bathe regularly to keep the vaginal area clean.
8. Drink plenty of water.
9. Empty your bladder every two hours while awake.
10. Your partner should shower prior to intercourse to be sure that he is clean and will not introduce harmful bacteria into your vaginal area.
Don't let diabetes or any other problem rob you of sexual fulfillment. Be open about your sexual difficulties. Discuss them with your partner and a trusted healthcare professional.
Other Issues That Affect Your Sex Life
For both women and men, sexual interest usually involves a combination of both physical and psychological factors. If you have abnormal blood glucose levels, feel depressed or fatigued, or have become bored or dissatisfied with your relationship, it is difficult to feel sexual. Antidepressants, high blood pressure medicines, and other medications can affect your interest in being intimate. If you believe that you are less attractive because of unwanted weight gain, dry skin, rashes, or marks from injections and pump infusion sets, you may feel uncomfortable interacting sexually with your loved one.
Discuss your concerns with your partner, and, if needed, meet with a mental health professional to help you deal with them. A lack of sexual interest is not a permanent casualty of diabetes. If you feel awkward about your appearance, turn down the lights and add the glow of candlelight and soft music to your lovemaking area. Invest in flattering sleepwear, perfumes and colognes. You will feel attractive and your partner will hopefully appreciate the added visual and sensual stimulation.
One of the online diabetes groups I belong to (but don't frequently post to) is geared towards "frum" (Orthodox or "observant") Jewish people with (mostly type 1) diabetes. Most of the chat on the mailing list centers around people needing last-minute supplies before Shabbat or a holiday, where to acquire supplies and get medical help when visiting Israel, and advice on which pump is best for one's type 1 child — in other words, the usual sort of diabetes chatter, but...
dLife's Sex & Intimacy Content is contributed & moderated by
Janis Roszler MSFT, RD, CDE, LDN
Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators' 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year. She is a certified diabetes educator, marriage and family therapist, and registered dietitian. Her books include Sex and Diabetes (ADA) Diabetes on your OWN Terms (Marlowe & Co) and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Surrey books).
Donna Rice MSW, BSN, RN, CDE
Donna Rice MBA,RN,CDE,FAADE is the 2007 Past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and has developed numerous educational programs on sexual health and wellness. She is the co-author of Sex and Diabetes (ADA) and Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction - A Quick ‘n' Easy Handbook For the Diabetes Educator (Bella Vita). Her newest publication is a children's book, The Magic is Me (Searchlight Press).