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Diabetes and Sensitive Topics

Diabetes can affect every part of life. It can create problems that aren't easy to talk about. But it's important to talk about and share your concerns with your healthcare provider since most problems are treatable. You may feel embarrassed, but it's good to know that providers see these problems every day.

Here are some common topics that people with diabetes deal with. Included are tips for how to talk about them.


Depression is an illness that can be treated. It causes feelings of being sad or hopeless that don't go away. It can affect anyone, but it's more commonly seen in people with diabetes and other types of chronic illness. 

Managing your diabetes day after day can feel overwhelming. Blood sugar that's too high or too low can make you feel tired and anxious. It can interfere with sleep. When you're depressed, it's harder to take care of yourself.

How to talk about it: You can say, "I haven't been feeling like myself lately." You can say, "I'm sleeping a lot" or "I'm having a hard time getting motivated to do things or take care of myself. I'd like to talk with you about it." Give some examples. These will help your healthcare provider ask follow-up questions.

Sexual intimacy

Diabetes can harm blood vessels and nerves. This can cause problems with sexual function. Some medicines can affect sexual function. It's normal to feel upset about these problems. But your healthcare provider may be able to help.

How to talk about it: You can say, "I'm having a personal problem that I'd like to talk with you about." Or "I'm wondering if diabetes might be affecting my sex life."

Bladder problems

Diabetes can cause infections and nerve damage. These can weaken the bladder muscle. Diabetes can lead to bladder and groin infections. This is more of a risk if you take certain medicines for type 2 diabetes. You may be shy about your bladder problems, but they're common.

How to talk about it: You can say, "I sometimes have trouble controlling my bladder."

Severe diarrhea or constipation

Many problems with the nerves to your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) can cause issues with your bowels. You may have constipation, explosive diarrhea, or loss of control of stool. A course of antibiotics or changing the fiber in your diet may help.

How to talk about it: You can say, “I’m having some trouble with my bowels.”

The benefits of talking about it

Talking and sharing your concerns may be the first step to feeling good again. It shows you're ready to start to make the changes you need to. This includes lowering your blood pressure or blood sugar numbers. Talking to your healthcare team will improve both the quality of your care and your life.

Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Ricardo Rafael Correa Marquez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
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