SOURCE: Owiredu WKBA, Alidu H, Amidu N, et al. Sexual dysfunction among diabetics and its impact on the SQoL of their partners. Int J Impot Research 2017;29:250-257.

Among diabetic men, the pathophysiologic derangements leading to sexual dysfunction are evident. Neuropathy and vascular disease (microvascular and macrovascular) readily explain the disproportionate incidence of observed sexual dysfunction. Explanations for sexual dysfunction in diabetic women, some of whom also have exhibited a higher incidence of sexual dysfunction than age-matched, non-diabetic comparators, are more difficult to discern.

Of the topics related to sexual health, there is less research on the partner impact of sexual dysfunction. Encouragingly, interventions that restore erectile capacity in men (e.g., phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, intracavernosal injection therapy, and vacuum constriction devices) have been associated with corresponding improvements in partner quality of life, albeit not without occasional partner reports of unwelcome improvements in erectile capacity, sometimes labeled “Viagravation.”

In a review of diabetic men (n = 130) and diabetic women (n = 116), evaluations of sexual quality of life in both genders was meaningfully affected by partner sexual dysfunction. Perhaps not surprisingly, age and duration of diabetes were the strongest predictors of sexual dysfunction in diabetic men. The authors opined that insufficient attention has been given to the presence and effect of sexual dysfunction on the quality of life of patients and their partners.