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Diabetes and sexual dysfunction: current perspectives

Authors Maiorino MI, Bellastella G, Esposito K

Received 4 October 2013

Accepted for publication 5 November 2013

Published 6 March 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 95—105

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S36455

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Maria Ida Maiorino,1 Giuseppe Bellastella,1 Katherine Esposito2

1Department of Medical, Surgical, Neurological, Metabolic and Geriatric Sciences, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy; 2Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy

Abstract: Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common chronic diseases in nearly all countries. It has been associated with sexual dysfunction, both in males and in females. Diabetes is an established risk factor for sexual dysfunction in men, as a threefold increased risk of erectile dysfunction was documented in diabetic men, as compared with nondiabetic men. Among women, evidence regarding the association between diabetes and sexual dysfunction are less conclusive, although most studies have reported a higher prevalence of female sexual dysfunction in diabetic women as compared with nondiabetic women. Female sexual function appears to be more related to social and psychological components than to the physiological consequence of diabetes. Hyperglycemia, which is a main determinant of vascular and microvascular diabetic complications, may participate in the pathogenetic mechanisms of sexual dysfunction in diabetes. Moreover, diabetic people may present several clinical conditions, including hypertension, overweight and obesity, metabolic syndrome, cigarette smoking, and atherogenic dyslipidemia, which are themselves risk factors for sexual dysfunction, both in men and in women. The adoption of healthy lifestyles may reduce insulin resistance, endothelial dysfunction, and oxidative stress – all of which are desirable achievements in diabetic patients. Improved well-being may further contribute to reduce and prevent sexual dysfunction in both sexes.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus, diabetes complications, erectile dysfunction, female sexual dysfunction, lifestyle changes


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