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Health Issues That Can Impact Sexual Satisfaction

Here’s the good news, the bad news, and some more good news about Americans’ sexual health: Most (64 percent of Americans, according to one recent study) are satisfied// with their sex lives. But many health issues can get in the way of having a good sex life, from prescription medication side effects to depression to sexually transmitted diseases.

In many cases, physicians can work with their patients to improve the situation, whether by changing the dosage of a medication, helping to treat depression or other medical conditions, or by providing sound medical advice for people who have STDs.

“For people who are not satisfied with their sex life, they really should talk to their primary care physician,” says Pamela G. Rockwell, D.O., assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. “He or she may be able to diagnose something that was previously undiagnosed, change medications, or offer some lifestyle recommendations. In many cases, the patients can improve their sexual satisfaction.”

Here, Rockwell explains how nine health issues can affect sexual satisfaction.

1. Prescription medications. Many common drugs can have side effects that impact sexual health, including medications that treat blood pressure, heart conditions and depression.

Diuretics (“water pills”) that treat heart and blood pressure conditions can cause erectile dysfunction among men. ACE inhibitors and other calcium channel blockers, which are used to treat some heart-related problems, also have been found to cause erectile problems.

For patients whose depression is being treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) medications – such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and other drugs – or other antidepressants, side effects can include a loss of interest in sex and ejaculation problems.

With all of these types of medication and any others that may cause sexual side effects, Ro
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