Conditions that can harm sex life

Being intimate with your partner is vital to a healthy relationship, but a long-term health problem can take the joy out of sex. 

You may start avoiding sex, have trouble climaxing or problems getting aroused depending on what health conditions you suffer from, but sometimes if you know what the problem is it can help you to find the solution.

Some changes may be physical, such as changes to your body, side effects from medicines, or fatigue and pain. Other changes may be psychological, such as fears you may hold about your sexual ability or performance, or about how your partner sees you now you’re unwell.

Here are some of the health problems that could affect your sex life.

Heart disease
It is common to feel fearful or anxious when having sex if you have been diagnosed with heart disease. Most patients get approval from their doctor to resume sexual activity about one week after treatment.

If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction and have been diagnosed with heart disease it is important to talk to your doctor to find out whether it is linked to the cardiovascular disease, or to anxiety, depression or something else.

It is also important to talk to your doctor if you are a post-menopausal woman needing hormone treatment or if you are concerned about the effect of medication on your sex drive or function.

Medication for erectile dysfunction can sometimes be harmful to heart patients, so check with your doctor before going down that route.

Try to avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol before sex, because these can affect blood flow and may reduce sexual performance.

Kidney disease
Sex is possible for people with kidney disease, but your hormones, nerves, energy levels, medicines and physical changes to your body may all have an effect on your libido. Talk to your doctor about any concerns about your physical ability.

Fear can cause people with kidney disease to unnecessarily avoid sexual activity. But if sexual activity does not place pressure or tension on your access site, it will not cause damage. 

After receiving a transplant, it is important to wait until the scar has begun to heal. Once your doctor says it is okay to resume sexual activity, there is no reason to worry about damaging the transplanted kidney.

Kidney failure often makes it more difficult for men to have or keep an erection, but often this can be treated. Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Diabetes
Low blood sugar, vaginal dryness or erection problems can make it more difficult for people with diabetes to have sex, but these challenges can be overcome. The most important step you can take to enjoy sex is to look after your diabetes. 

You should also treat sex in the same way that you treat exercise. Check you blood glucose levels before sexual activity and have a snack if it is low. Then check your blood glucose levels again after sex. Keep snacks and some juice nearby in case you need them.

Use a lubricant if you experience vaginal dryness and talk to your doctor about any erection problems.

Arthritis
It’s natural to shy away from being physically intimate when you’re experiencing pain and fatigue from arthritis, but you can experiment to find more comfortable sexual positions.

Try supporting yourself with a rolled-up towel or pillow during sex to relieve some pain and time your physical intimacy for the times of the day when you feel your best.

You can also try taking a warm shower to relieve stiff joints before sex or try taking your pain medication at least 30 minutes before you plan to have sex.

For more information visit BetterHealth

What other health conditions have you found that have a negative impact on your sex life? Have you gone to a doctor to seek help?

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