Puberty & Sex

Puberty and Diabetes

Puberty occurs in all teenagers and is a time of natural insulin resistance. This means that your body may not respond to insulin the way that it used to. It also means your insulin doses may need to be adjusted to account for this change. This is a time when the body is producing surges of growth hormone and other hormones that tell the body to develop physical changes as teens become adults.

During these physical changes there are other changes as well:

  • Feelings of wanting to handle things on your own.
  • More variations in blood sugars.
  • Feelings like you don't want to be different from others.
  • Can be a time of increased risk taking in all aspects of life.

Information for Women

What You Need to Know about your Period

  • Your blood sugars can vary depending on where you are in your cycle.
  • Often blood sugars are higher the week before your period.
  • Keep track of your blood sugars and if you see monthly patterns talk to your diabetes provider so insulin adjustments can be made during this time.

Yeast and Bladder Infections 

  • Women with elevated blood sugars can be at increased risk for vaginal yeast infections and bladder infections.
  • Contact your health care provider with any symptoms of burning with urination and/or unusual vaginal discharge.
  • To prevent bladder infections, drink lots of water, wear cotton underwear and urinate after you have sex.

Sex and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know before You Have Sex

Before you choose to have sex it is important to plan how you will be safe and responsible to protect against pregnancy and prevent getting sexually transmitted infections.  This is true whether you have diabetes or not. When you have diabetes it is important to know some other important things as well.

You could get pregnant! Even with birth control, pregnancies can happen.

The bad news:

  • Pregnancy can worsen any complications of diabetes.
  • Pregnancy with poor glucose control can lead to increased risk of miscarriage, birth defects and still birth. Birth defects involve the cardiovascular and neurological systems.
  • Big babies that put the baby and mom at risk.

It’s important to know that when you decide you would like to get pregnant there is good news.

  • Risk of poor pregnancy outcomes is directly tied to BG levels before and during pregnancy.
  • Getting BG to normal range drops risk of poor outcomes to nearly normal levels.
  • A pre-conception evaluation can identify any early diabetes complications and allow for time treatment.
Take Home Message About Sex and Pregnancy
  • Plan pregnancies.
  • Practice contraception/abstinence.
  • Normalize glucose levels.
  • Have a full work-up prior to conceiving.
  • Work closely with diabetes clinicians and maternal-fetal medicine clinicians.
  • If you are having sex, the principles of safe sex are the same whether you have diabetes or not. If you are having sex be sure to be SAFE—use condoms, prevent unplanned pregnancy, and respect your partner.
  • Just as hypoglycemia can occur with increased activity and exercise, it is possible to get low during or after sex. Check your blood sugar before sex and/or consider a small snack just before or after to prevent lows.

For Men

What You Need to Know about Impotence or Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

  • Poorly controlled blood sugars, lipids (cholesterol) and blood pressure can lead to ED (inability to get or maintain an erection). 
  • This can happen as early as the 30’s and 40’s if blood sugar control has been poor for several years. Once is occurs it is usually not reversible.
  • Well controlled blood sugars, lipids and blood pressure should lead to a long and healthy sex life.
  • If you are having sex, the principles of safe sex are the same whether you have diabetes or not. If you are having sex be sure to be SAFE—use condoms, prevent unplanned pregnancy, and respect your partner. 
  • Just as hypoglycemia can occur with increased activity and exercise, it is possible to get low during or after sex. Check your blood sugar before sex and/or consider a small snack just before or after to prevent lows.