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Transition was positive. They helped me understand my condition.

Diabetes

Relationships

When you start out in a relationship thinking about your diabetes is the last thing you might want to think about. If you make sure you look after yourself then your diabetes shouldn't cause any problems but there are a few things that it can be important to think about. 

Sex 

Sex is a form of exercise - you may need extra carbohydrates before to prevent a hypo. Sex or lots of energetic snogging can be strenuous enough to cause a hypo, so keep something to treat a hypo handy. High blood glucose levels can make thrush more likely. Keeping their diabetes under control as much as possible can help avoid it and they should visit their GP if they have genital itching and discharge.

Think about contraception too. Most methods of hormonal contraception can be used by someone with Type 1 diabetes. Seek advice from your GP or a specialist contraception/sexual health service. Condoms are the only contraception that will both prevent pregnancy and protect you from sexually transmitted infections. You can get them free from pharmacies or sexual health clinics. Make sure you access regular sexual health screening. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are common and can be unpleasant. Prevention is the key but regular screening is important to get quick treatment.

Pregnancy

Having children is a life changing decision. Having diabetes does not prevent anyone from having children. It is rare for diabetes to affect fertility - if you are worried about this contact your diabetes team or a specialist contraception and sexual health service for advice. . It can help to think about the following:

Women: 

Pregnancy needs careful planning and management:

  • You should use contraception until you decide you want to become pregnant. 
  • You can ask the diabetes team for pregnancy planning advice and should talk to them if you are planning on getting pregnant.
  • Keep blood glucose on target: Women can increase their chances of delivering a healthy baby by keeping their blood glucose tightly controlled before conception and throughout pregnancy. If their HbA1c is above 86mmol/mol they should avoid pregnancy until it has improved. HbA1c should be below 48mmol/mol before conception.  High blood glucose before and during pregnancy can be risky for you and baby.
  • If you become pregnant let your diabetes team know and make sure you register with a midwife (at your GP surgery).
  • During pregnancy you will be under the care of a specialist Antenatal Diabetes team and offered extra monitoring appointments and scans during pregnancy to make sure blood glucose levels are satisfactory and to check the baby's growth and development.

Men: 

  • Erection problems can be common with people with diabetes - don't be embarrassed, seek help.

You can find out more information here about sex, relationships and services in the Bristol area.