Sexual dysfunction in women with type 1 diabetes: a controlled study

Diabetes Care. 2002 Apr;25(4):672-7. doi: 10.2337/diacare.25.4.672.


Objective: This study aimed to 1) examine the prevalence of sexual problems in women with type 1 diabetes, 2) compare this prevalence rate with that of an age-matched control group, 3) study the influence of diabetes-related somatic factors on female sexuality, and 4) study the influence of psychological variables on the sexual functioning of both groups.

Research design and methods: A total of 120 women with diabetes visiting the outpatient diabetes clinic completed questionnaires evaluating psychological adjustment to diabetes, marital satisfaction, depression, and sexual functioning. Medical records were used to obtain data on HbA(1c), use of medication, BMI, and early-onset microvascular complications. An age-matched control group of 180 healthy women attending an outpatient gynecological clinic for preventive routine gynecological assessment also completed the non-diabetes-related questionnaires.

Results: More women with diabetes than control subjects reported sexual dysfunction (27 vs. 15%; P = 0.04), but a significant difference was found only for decreased lubrication. No association was found between sexual dysfunction and age, BMI, duration of diabetes, HbA(1c), use of medication, menopausal status, or complications. Women with more complications, however, reported significantly more sexual dysfunctions, and the presence of complications altered treatment satisfaction. Both diabetic and control women with sexual dysfunction mentioned lower overall quality of the marital relation and more depressive symptoms than their respective counterparts without sexual problems. Depression was a significant predictor for sexual dysfunction in both women with diabetes and control subjects.

Conclusions: Sexual problems are frequent in women with diabetes. They affect the overall quality of life and deserve more attention in clinical practice and research.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / psychology*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Records
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reference Values
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / epidemiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires