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Diabetes, Sexual Dysfunction and Therapeutic Exercise: A 20 Year Review

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Most trials on the effect of exercise on patients with diabetes mellitus focused on their glycaemic control, only a few focused on sexual dysfunction. A comprehensive two-decade literature review (1989-2009) from peer-reviewed journals was undertaken to examine the roles if any, of therapeutic exercise as an intervention for sexual dysfunction in patients with diabetes. Because of the paucity of studies on this subject, meta-analyses, small and non-randomized trials cited on Medline, Pedro, Embase, Scirus, Highwire and the Cochrane Library of systematic reviews were examined. Sexual dysfunction in general, links between diabetes and sexual dysfunction and management options for sexual dysfunction including therapeutic exercises were reviewed.

In women, diabetes is reported to slightly increase the risk of decreased sexual arousal, inadequate lubrication and pain on sexual intercourse, while erectile dysfunction is the most common presentation of sexual dysfunction in men. The literature is scanty but shows some effectiveness of therapeutic exercise in managing sexual dysfunction in patients with diabetes. However, this review shows that i) pelvic floor exercises ii) biofeedback techniques iii) electrical stimulation and iv) vaginal dilators are effective in managing sexual dysfunction secondary to other disease factors in the non-diabetic populations. More research is recommended to further establish the efficacy of therapeutic exercises in managing sexual dysfunction in patients with diabetes.



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Keywords: Depression; Diabetes complications; Exercise; Impotence

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2010

More about this publication?
  • Current Diabetes Reviews publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances on diabetes and its related areas e.g. pharmacology, pathogenesis, complications, epidemiology, clinical care, and therapy.

    The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to clinical research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all researchers and clinicians who are involved in the field of diabetes.
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