PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In recognition of National Diabetes Month, Maria Sophocles, MD, FACOG, NCMP, Gynecologist & Medical Director of Women’s Healthcare of Princeton, sheds light on important aspects of health for young women living with and managing their diabetes. In the United States alone, approximately 16.2 million women suffer from diabetes and are at an increased risk for uncomfortable vaginal health symptoms, sexual and reproductive health difficulties, such as vaginal dryness and pain with sex, yeast and bacterial imbalances, and complications with conception and pregnancy.
“About 80% of diabetic women don’t discuss sexual issues with their doctors, but diabetes and sexual and reproductive health are a lot more intertwined than many realize,” says Sophocles. “Young women living with diabetes must consistently achieve target blood sugar levels to keep the vaginal environment healthy, comfortable, and in balance. It’s important to speak with a health care provider about how diet, exercise and other lifestyle habits affect vaginal health, sexual satisfaction, and the ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.”
Below are some of Dr. Sophocles’ recommendations for young women living with diabetes:
- Balancing Yeast & Bacteria: The vagina is a delicate ecosystem of yeast and good bacteria, and when blood sugar levels in women with diabetes go awry, so does that balance. Vaginal fluids in diabetic women contain more glucose, or sugar, than non-diabetic women, which can influence an overgrowth of yeast and bacteria in the vagina. Keeping blood sugar levels in check with a healthy diet can help prevent the imbalance from occurring.
A healthy diet for a woman with diabetes involves more than nutrient-dense, low-sugar foods. Incorporating an oral probiotic, like RepHresh Pro-B, helps balance yeast and bacteria in the vagina every day. Pro-B contains two patented and clinically tested vaginal strains of healthy lactobacillus (flora), L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14 to help keep the vaginal flora in a normal, healthy range.
- Sexual satisfaction & vaginal dryness: While many women living with diabetes avoid discussing sexual health issues with their doctors, research shows that diabetes may result in a lowered libido, painful sex from vaginal dryness, and create difficulty with arousal and achieving an orgasm.
Vaginal dryness is a top complaint among women of all ages with diabetes. Women who are menopausal may experience vaginal dryness due to a decreased amount of estrogen in the body, but younger women and pregnant women who have diabetes may experience vaginal dryness due to damaged nerves that naturally lubricate the vagina. To relieve vaginal dryness and discomfort throughout the day, Replens Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer promotes the healing of vaginal tissue and provides immediate relief from dryness. When used during or just before sex, Replens Silky Smooth silicone lubricant combats vaginal dryness, irritation, and discomfort with intercourse, enhancing intimacy for you and your partner. Using a vibrator can also help improve sexual stimulation and sensation, like the Trojan Power Wand Deep Vibrations Massager.
- Pregnancy & Trying to Conceive: Using birth control is critical for diabetic women who do not want to get pregnant or who want to wait until their blood sugar levels are in the optimal range to conceive. When a diabetic woman is ready to start a family, it’s important that she first consults with her health care provider. Make sure to keep reliable pregnancy tests on hand like First Response Early Result that provides accurate results up to six days before the day of a missed period. Early pregnancy detection enables one to begin making healthy pregnancy choices including diet, nutrition and limiting exposure to hazards.
Studies show that non-sperm friendly lubricants may limit sperm motility. When trying to conceive, choose a product that promote chances of conception. Pre-Seed Fertility Lubricant is pH balanced and aids in supporting sperm survival, and when applied just before intercourse can assist in successful conception.
While having diabetes does not affect one’s fertility, it may pose a risk for pregnancy loss or complications. High blood sugar can increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, premature birth, cesarian (c-section delivery), or preeclampsia (high blood pressure). It’s essential to actively work to be as healthy as possible when trying to conceive and during pregnancy to keep blood sugar spikes at bay and avoid complications.