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Medications That Can Adversely Affect Sexual Function

By HERWriter
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Sexual Health related image Photo: Getty Images

Having certain health problems that require medication can be bad enough. Many prescription drugs come with numerous side effects. When those medications bring about sexual dysfunction as one of the side effects, it can be a double whammy.

Several prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can cause sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction, menstrual irregularities, lack of libido and the inability to experience orgasm. The risk of sexual side effects can be increased when someone is taking multiple medications.

Antidepressants are most frequently the culprits behind sexual dysfunction. They work by altering levels of chemicals in the brain. In particular they increase serotonin levels. Serotonin inhibits sexual function.

Other common medications affecting sexual performance are ones that treat allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease and psychiatric conditions such as bipolar disorder. Illegal and recreational drugs, like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines, may also cause sexual dysfunction.

Hormone therapies can also change sexual arousal levels, and levels of sexual aggression.

Sexual dysfunction can stem from the drug itself or be related to a side effect. Some drugs decrease sexual hormone levels, thereby lowering sex drive. Others can impact the central nervous system, affecting nerve endings and sensitivity, or they decrease the flow of blood to sex organs. It is important to note that not everyone experiences sexual side effects with the types of medication listed.

As a result of sexual problems, many people take matters in their own hands by either modifying the dose or stopping their medication altogether. If you are worried that your medication is causing sexual dysfunction, don’t do that. It is important that you visit with your health care provider as any one of the above options can lead to serious health problems.

A doctor can help with a number of effective options when it comes to treating both male and female sexual dysfunction. He or she may switch you to another medicine that acts in a similar way.

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EmpowHER Guest

Have been on cymbalta for a little over 3 months. It has changed my life for the better. My anxiety had gotten to the point that I was hiding in the restroom at work during episodes almost everyday. I am able to communicate what I am thinking more clearly. I don't break out in a sweat if something isn't going the way I think it should. I feel like myself before the panic/anxiety attacks started several years ago.

October 9, 2011 - 5:24pm
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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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