Those with allergic rhinitis were also more likely to have sleep problems.
The study definitely sheds light on a new area, said Dr. Clifford Bassett, a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Long Island College Hospital/State University of New York and a clinical instructor at New York University School of Medicine. "Sexual function is not something typically evaluated [with allergies]," he said.
But the finding makes sense to Bassett, based on what patients report to him. "If people have a runny, drippy nose and feel unsexy, they might be embarrassed by what would be normal intimate contact," he said.
But the condition can be treated, both Bassett and Benninger stressed. From over-the-counter nasal sprays to prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines and prescription intranasal steroids, options abound.
The message to allergy sufferers, Benninger said, is not to confine lovemaking to times when their symptoms aren't so bad but to seek treatment that can help them feel better much of the time. Paying attention to allergy triggers and, for instance, closing bedroom windows so pollen levels are at a minimum can help, too.
Bassett also said he hopes the study will wake up those with allergy symptoms whose sex life is less than ideal. "I think it's essential for patients to realize that help is out there," he said. "They don't need to be a casualty in the lovemaking department."
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has more about allergies.
SOURCES: Clifford Bassett, M.D., clinical assistant professor, medicine, Long Island College Hospital/State University of New York, and cl
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