By Dr. Ajaypal Singh, Sexology,
With rapidly changing lifestyles, diabetes and hypertension have become extremely prevalent. India is the new diabetes capital, and hypertension is a close twin for diabetes. These are not one-system diseases, in that they affect entire body systems in different ways. What many do not realize is that sex requires the optimal function of various body systems. When hypertension and diabetes affect a person, a person’s sex life is affected in more ways than one. Read on to know some intricacies of these lifestyle diseases and your sex life:
- Hypertension: The main issue in hypertension is that the blood vessels are narrowed, and the blood has to exert extra pressure to ensure it reaches all target organs. One of the first steps for erection is increased blood supply to the sex organs, and when one is hypertensive, this does not happen. In fact, when men go to a doctor with erectile dysfunction, hypertension is identified as the root cause. Reduced blood flow also reduces overall libido and so affects sex life. In women, hypertension also causes pain during sex, further stopping a woman from enjoying a good sex life. For men, another damper is that antihypertensive medications like beta blockers can actually lead to erectile dysfunction. There are men who resort to Viagra to keep up a good sex life.
- Diabetes: Similar to hypertension, diabetes sometimes gets diagnosed when erectile dysfunction is being diagnosed. Diabetes affects the circulatory and nervous system very badly, both very critical for a good sex life. There is reduced circulation to all organs, including the genitals. There is a loss of sensation due to diabetic neuropathy, which again dampens sex life. Diabetes and hypertension cause chronic inflammation in the body, which also affects the sexual organs. These inflammatory cells circulating in the blood reduce sexual desire and eventually affect performance. Hormones play havoc when there is diabetes, which also reduces overall sex drive and performance. The stress hormones are excessive in circulation, sex hormones are reduced, which leads to poor sex life.
Both hypertension and diabetes, being chronic diseases, also play a major role in terms of increasing stress levels. The link between stress and sex is well established.
Both diabetes and hypertension are caused by and further produce poor lifestyle. The person may not have healthy eating habits, be very poorly active, be drinking and smoking excessively. All these, needless to say, produce physical and emotional issues, none of which favor a good sex life.
Sex, though a physical act, has a lot more to do with overall emotional health. So, it is essential to maintain good physical and emotional health for a healthy sex life, and vice versa is equally true.