How Sex Life Can Be Affected by Chronic Pain
Did you know chronic pain can affect your sex life? The American Pain Foundation reports that around 50 million Americans are struggling with chronic pain; its causes range from back injuries to fibromyalgia. And nearly 80 percent of these sufferers, together with their partners, have reported having significant reduction of sexual functioning.
Meerut Sathi-Welsch, MD, offers insights as to what causes this phenomenon. A pain management specialist and anesthesiologist, she said chronic pain is among the leading causes of insomnia, fatigue and depression. What’s more, the medications used to make the pain go away tend to reduce libido. For some people, this can make sexual intercourse painful.
And because the pain is deeply infused in the patient’s life, it can affect the psyche. Daniel Kantor, MD, president of the Florida Society of Neurology has this to say: “You don’t see yourself as a romantic, sexual being because you’re so defined by the pain.”
So how does one get the groove back in the sack? It takes a lot of patience and creativity. Atlanta-based pain management specialist David Rosenfeld, MD, also has his input on the matter. To start off, one needs to speak with a doctor to determine which treatments may be changed for sexual improvement.
“[Doctors] can decrease opiates and use more other medications that [doctors] know are effective for treating chronic pain with less effect on sexuality, like Cymbalta and Lyrica,” Dr. Rosenfeld said. There are also drug treatments available for men with low testosterone levels; prescription, however, may be required to obtain these medications. Joining a support group can also help. It pays to be in the company of other people who are facing the same predicament.
Coping with chronic pain can lead to the temptations of just writing off intimacy in the relationship. This, however, can put the relationship at risk. Since sex is a natural part of one’s life and pain isn’t, it is very important to seek the help of a pain management specialist to address these chronic pain issues as well as the accompanying effect on sex life.