MONDAY, April 29 (HealthDay News) -- For the more than 3 million Americans living with traumatic brain injury, there is often an unspoken problem: Many suffer from sexual dysfunction, something that is easily overlooked as patients struggle with overwhelming physical and emotional issues that can last for years, new research has found.
The sexual difficulties usually become most apparent about six months after the injury and, if left unaddressed, worsen with time, said study author Jhon Alexander Moreno, a researcher in neuropsychology at the University of Montreal.
The cause of the injury can also influence whether a person will struggle with sexual problems, Moreno said. "The psychological stressors that an athlete or a soldier faces are quite different, so a traumatic brain injury with the same severity can lead to different sexual difficulties."
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the result of an external force that traumatically injuries the brain. It can be caused by a penetrating injury, such as a bullet or flying metal, or a blow to the head, from something such as a car accident or a forceful tackle on the football field.
The review, which was published in NeuroRehabilitation: An International Journal, analyzed the results of 14 studies that together included almost 1,500 patients, spouses, partners and people without TBI, as well as rehabilitation professionals reporting on their experience with these patients.
The study found that 50 percent to 60 percent of people with TBI have sexual difficulties, such as reduced interest in sex, erectile dysfunction, pain during sex, difficulties in vaginal lubrication, difficulties achieving orgasm or staying aroused, and a sense of diminished sex appeal, Moreno said.
The research found that partners of those with TBI experienced personality and emotional changes, and a modificatio
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