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Nervous System Disorders and Sexual Function

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As most of you know, our nervous system is a channel that sends messages throughout the body. It enables our senses and controls many involuntary functions, such as digesting food.

Those who suffer from nervous system disorders know all too well the importance of these functions. Some of the most common of these conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Of course, our nerves also aid in sexual functioning. The autonomic nervous system controls the stomach and heart, but it also controls the penis, vagina, and bladder, among others. You don’t hear so much about that, now do you?

Since many people are too embarrassed to ask their doctor why their libido has gone kaput, they don’t understand this vital link in the “chain” that is sexuality. But the fact is that, if your autonomic system is damaged as a result of a tumor, aneurysm, injury or diabetes, your sex life can take a major nosedive.

In fact, the medical community is finally speaking out about it. Dr. Kathleen Connell of the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut recently did a study on the inability of women to become aroused and experience orgasm. When asked about her findings in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she responded that, "Our data suggest that pudendal (genital) nerve impairment may play a role in sexual dysfunction in women."

The effects of nervous system disorder are easy to spot in men, because erections become impossible to maintain. In women, the differences are more subtle. You may have trouble producing a sufficient amount of vaginal lubrication, or you may lose feeling in your vaginal area altogether.

Sexuality is indirectly effected by other symptoms, too. Victims of autonomic nerve damage often experience random pain in their extremities, arrhythmia, and nausea. They can be severely prone to infection and constipation. Needless to say, none of these conditions lends itself to a hot and heavy sex life!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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