Almost half of women in the US who suffer from Type 1 or 2 diabetes report that it has a negative impact on their sex lives, according to a new study released today by MicroMass Communications, Inc., a leader in behavioral marketing in the healthcare industry. The research, which highlighted the need for improved education and support to help women build confidence in their ability to overcome the challenges of the disease, was conducted with a representative sample of more than 800 women with diabetes.
"Even women who have lived with diabetes for years seem to lack some basic information about the disease," said Andi Kravitz Weiss, MPH, a behaviorist at MicroMass, who pointed out that one of the more surprising findings in the study was the discovery that 58 percent of those questioned did not know that the menstrual cycle can trigger changes in blood sugar.
Along with diminished libido, 25 percent of the women who responded to the survey reported loss of spontaneity, and 22 percent said they were less likely to reach orgasm.
According to the MicroMass study, some of the biggest obstacles for women with diabetes are related to lifestyle. Nearly three out of four of those questioned had trouble managing their weight, and nearly half had trouble choosing the right foods. Half reported that controlling their blood sugar was a major challenge, and one out of three admitted that they found it hard to take care of themselves before looking after others.
"Our research shows that women with diabetes have far more confidence in their ability to take their medications than they have in their ability to make basic lifestyle changes. As a result, healthcare providers should be providing education and support programs that help build that confidence so that women can learn how to make the lifestyle changes necessary to successfully manage their diabetes," added Weiss.
Nonprofit organizations, such as DiabetesSisters, which is dedicated to education and peer support, are staunchly behind efforts to better manage diabetes by helping women overcome the challenges associated with the disease. Brandy Barnes, CEO and founder of the organization, credits MicroMass for conducting the study. "Historically, women have not received the support they need to manage this disease. This research reinforces the need for organizations like DiabetesSisters to provide resources that speak to the needs of women with diabetes," she said.
"Results like these highlight the need for supportive learning environments in which women with diabetes can explore their personal experience, perceptions and beliefs about diabetes, and receive accurate comprehensive education that validates their experience of life with diabetes," says Claire Blum, MS Ed, RN, CDE, of Partners & Peers for Diabetes Care, Inc.
"Motivating patients to change their lifestyles is critical," said Jeff Burkel, COO of MicroMass, who pointed out that diabetes is on the rise in all ethnic and racial groups. "Research like this can inform and broaden the discussion on how to make real progress in combating these types of metabolic diseases." For more information on the survey or about MicroMass Communications, contact Jeff Burkel at 919-256-2477 or email [email protected]