Diabetes Forecast

Any Tips on Pump Use and Sex?

I am counseling a person who has type 1 diabetes and uses an insulin pump. She is wondering how to manage the pump when she becomes sexually active. Do you have any suggestions? Gail Trimpe-Morrow, MS, LPC, Normal, Illinois

Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N, responds: I'm so pleased that you and your patient are having this important conversation! Too many people with diabetes never discuss intimacy with their health care team. Here are a few tips you can share.

What to Know: People who wear insulin pumps usually have a choice during intimacy—they can disconnect or leave their pump on. If your patient chooses to disconnect, she can safely be away from her pump for about 45 minutes to an hour. But she must remember to reconnect before she falls asleep. Many people find it helpful to set a reminder alarm, as it is very dangerous to go the entire night without any insulin delivery. If she wears a pod-type pump that doesn't disconnect, she should wear her pump on an area of her body that won't interfere with intimate activity.

Possible Solutions: If she leaves her pump on during sexual activity, she shouldn't panic if it gets pulled out accidentally. This is not dangerous. The bleeding that may occur is not harmful. Just have her reconnect when she is done, check her blood glucose level, and treat any abnormal result as directed by you or other members of her health care team.

Find Out More: To learn how to enjoy a more fulfilling intimate life with diabetes, read Sex and Diabetes: For Him and For Her, which I coauthored. It is a fun and informative book that contains personal stories, expert guidance, and even diabetes-friendly recipes that are made with aphrodisiac ingredients. Published by the American Diabetes Association, it is available at shopdiabetes.org.

Takeaways: Everyone with diabetes can participate in sexual activity. If your intimate life has changed, ask your health care provider to help you find ways to enjoy it once again.



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