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Sexual dysfunction in women who suffer from multiple sclerosis can have physical and psychological causes alike. It's important for both people in the relationship to know that there are ways you can help manage and treat the effects of SD for women.

Sexual problems are not an uncommon issue among people that suffer from multiple sclerosis. It can affect both men and women alike, as sexual arousal begins with stimulation in the central nervous system. The brain typically sends messages to your sexual organs, by using the nerves in your spinal cords as channels. When MS begins to damage these nerve pathways, sexual response becomes affected.

However, sexual problems can also arise from a number of different reasons, not just because of this nerve tissue damage. They can also be a result of excessive fatigue, muscle weakness, spasticity, or loss of cognitive functions. Sexual activity can also be affected when the MS patients is going through a psychological impasse, which causes them to lack the sexual appetite that healthy people normally experience.

MS and sexual dysfunction in women

The loss of sexual appetite is one of the most uncomfortable MS symptoms, one that directly affects every couple where at least one of the members suffers from MS. Sex is a very complex process, one that involves a psychological response in a person’s nervous system. When a woman suffers from MS and begins her journey down the road of sexual dysfunction, she may:

  • Experience reduced libido, which is a consequence of a lot of different causes. Aside from being a normal response of the body, sexual desire and appetite are often trigger on a psychological level. If you have ever refused sex because of sadness, melancholy, lack of comfort in the presence of a partner, or because of another such reason, then it makes sense that women with MS might reject the idea of engaging in intercourse.
  • Feel pain or fatigue when trying to engage in sexual activities. In fact, fatigue is one of the top reasons why MS patients no longer feel an increased sexual appetite. Sometimes, muscle spasms can physically prevent women from having sex, as well.
  • Feel certain changes in the genital area that can prevent any sexual act. Numbing in the clitoris is not that uncommon among women who suffer from MS, just like impaired stimulation is also highly probable.
  • Experience vaginal dryness. When the vagina is not properly lubricate, a sexual experience can be painful, and cause a mental barrier that will further suggest on an unconscious level that sex is painful, and should be avoided.
  • Depression. This is one very common symptom of MS patients, so women that experience intense episodes of depression may be unwilling to have sex, even if their bodies respond positively to this natural desire. Depression is often accompanied by self-loathing, and some women diagnosed with MS may see themselves as undesirable, and attempt to block any future sexual activity because of this misconception.

MS, women, and fertility

Infertility was never directly linked to multiple sclerosis. Even is this condition will typically affect both men and women alike, MS does not directly interfere with fertility. There are different medical interventions and medication that can help couples with MS-related problems get pregnant.

Medication for sexual dysfunction in women with MS

Careful assessment by a doctor is the first step towards treating sexual dysfunction. It’s important to remember that the factors that contribute to the loss of sexual desire aren’t even MS-related in some cases. If the causes are directly related to MS, there are different drugs that can be used to treat sexual impairment. However, there are also some MS drugs which can lead to sexual dysfunction, but there are ways to go around such problems:

  • One type of drug known for causing sexual impairment in women suffering from MS is the anticholinergic medication that’s prescribed to treat bladder control issues. In order to prevent it from affecting your sex life, take it half an hour before engaging in sexual activity, in order to prevent urinary leaks or bladder contractions.
  • If you’re taking any form of injectable medication that has side effects that can lead to sexual impairment, calculate the injection time in order to make sure said effects won’t get in the way of your sex life.
  • Antidepressants are a category of drugs that will lead to sexual impairment in a lot of cases. Talking to your doctor about this is important, as they can prescribe a different type of drug that won’t affect your sexual appetite.
  • Women who suffer from MS and take anti-fatigue meds, may want to ingest them about an hour before having sex, to raise their energy levels in due time.

Psychotherapy for sexual dysfunction in women with MS

There have been a lot of cases where women gave up their sex life for psychological reasons that were often the result of anxiety, rather than actual reasons for sexual impairment. Women that suffer from MS find their weakness to be unattractive, and often imagine that their condition is less attractive to their sexual partner. More often than not, this statement is completely untrue, and women end up feeling depressed because they are not having sex, which leads to further depression. This vicious circle can be ended with some fruitful psychotherapy sessions.

During these sessions, women can explore this sexual anxiety in depth, and will often discover that the lack of sexual appetite has nothing to do with how their partner perceives their condition, but with how they see themselves. The lack of sexual desire is often unjustified, as there are plenty of women that discover that their partners never gave any reasons for insecurity, and this anxiety is a reflection of their own fears and beliefs.

Conclusion

Sexual dysfunction in women who suffer from multiple sclerosis can have physical and psychological causes alike. Determining which of these two cases is valid in your situation is important in order to determine which are the next steps towards solving this problem. When sexual dysfunction is caused by psychological factors, therapy can go a long way in treating this sexual anxiety. In other cases, the solution can be as simple as making a few changes in the medication plan (with the assistance of a doctor, of course).

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