What are sex headaches?

Sex headaches (also called orgasmic headaches, benign coital headache, or orgasmic cephalgia) are headaches associated with sexual activity. They can occur with intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex.
They may build gradually as a person reaches orgasm. More commonly, they are sudden and intense at the point of orgasm, resulting in a stabbing pain.
Usually, they last for a few minutes, but in some cases they may last a few hours or even a couple of days. They may happen every once in a while or every time a person has an orgasm.
Men tend to get sex headaches more than women. People who have migraines may also be at greater risk for sex headaches.
It’s not clear why people get sex headaches, but the headaches may be linked to blood vessel spasms in the head.
While bothersome, sex headaches usually aren’t serious. But it’s best for anyone with sex-related headaches to see a doctor to rule out another medical condition, like bleeding in the head. The doctor may order tests, such as an MRI, CT scan, angiogram, or spinal tap.
Sometimes, sex headaches go away quickly on their own. But if there is a pattern of sex headaches and no underlying cause, doctors may prescribe medication to prevent them.

How can sex headaches be prevented?

Some doctors prescribe medications to prevent sex headaches.
Patients who have frequent, lengthy sex headaches might take a beta blocker like propranolol every day. Beta blockers are sometimes used to treat high blood pressure, glaucoma, and migraines as well.
Alternatively, patients might take a medication an hour before sex. The anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin is sometimes prescribed for this purpose. Some people take a triptan, a type of anti-migraine drug, instead of indomethacin.
Some other strategies for handling sex headaches include:
  • Stopping sexual activity when the headache begins.
  • Taking a more passive role in sexual activity.
  • Massaging head and neck muscles to relieve tension before sex.

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Sex and Anxiety

We often talk about the role of the brain during sexual activity. While the genitals may seem more involved with the “action,” the brain is a great coordinator. It takes in sexual stimuli (like a provocative smile or a touch), processes them, and sends messages to the genitals to start getting ready, either through erection or vaginal lubrication.
But there’s more to the brain and sex than these physiological processes. The brain also filters our emotional and psychological responses to sex. It analyzes questions like:
·         Do I trust my partner?
·         Will my partner or I become pregnant?
·         Does my partner have a sexually-transmitted infection?
·         Is this a safe place to have sex?
·         If I can’t perform sexually, what will my partner think?
·         Will sex hurt?
·         Will my spouse find out I’m having an affair?
·         Do I really want to have sex with this person right now?
The list could go on. Such anxieties – and more formally diagnosed anxiety disorders - can have an impact on our sexual function. That’s what we’ll be talking about today.

What is anxiety?

We’ve all felt anxious at times. Life events like starting a new job, getting married, or having a baby can all be anxiety-inducing. But so can smaller-scale events like asking for a raise at work or handling a dispute with your neighbor.
Sometimes, these feelings of apprehension occur in situations that wouldn’t make the average person anxious. The feelings can start to interfere with daily life.
In that case, a person might be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (excessive anxiety), panic disorder (episodes of great fear), social anxiety (fear of social situations and judgement by others), or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD – anxiety triggered by a traumatic event).
The relationship between anxiety and sex, however, can be circular.
Feeling anxious can impair your sexual function. For example, if you’re concerned about your partner’s fidelity, you might find yourself focused on that during sex, making it more difficult to relax and stay in the moment.
Conversely, if you have a medical condition that can make sex uncomfortable, such as endometriosis, the anticipation of pain can dampen your sexual desire or lead you to avoid sex altogether.

How can anxiety impact sex?

The brain works in many mysterious ways and anxiety’s effects on sexual function can take many forms. Here are some of the more common ones:

Low desire.

Anxiety can make us less interested in sex. For example, if a woman suspects that her partner is unfaithful, she may feel inadequate, angry, and less inclined to have sex.
Sometimes people are so worried about pleasing their partner that their performance suffers. Men might have trouble getting an erection or might ejaculate before they want to. Women might have trouble relaxing enough to allow penetration.
·         Pain. Pain is a common sexual problem, especially for women. Unfortunately, the expectation of pain can become so intense that it blocks out any pleasure.
·         Trouble with orgasm. The effects of anxiety can have a cumulative effect, making it more difficult to reach orgasm.
·         Avoidance. People may be so anxious about sex that they shy away from dating, relationships, and sex.
What can people do?
If you think anxiety is interfering with your sex life, there are several steps you can take:
·         See your doctor. Sometimes, people feel awkward about seeing a professional for anxiety and try to manage it on their own. But there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. Your doctor can refer you to a mental health specialist who will come up with a treatment plan tailored just for you.
·         Consider couples counseling. If you feel anxious about some aspect of your relationship, you might see a specialist who focuses on couples therapy. You and your partner can learn to work through your issues constructively and come up with strategies to improve life at home. You can also learn better communication skills.
·         Try sex therapy. Sex therapy is another type of counseling, but it focuses more on sex itself. It can be a helpful option for people with performance anxiety or sexual fears.
·         Be up front with your partner. Lots of couples have trouble discussing sex. Sometimes, we just need to take a deep breath and start the conversation. Be honest about how you’re feeling. Your partner might be thinking about the same issues and feel relieved that you brought them up. Also, be open with your partner about what feels good to you and ask for what you want sexually.
·         Focus on the intimacy. Your fears and anxieties can take a lot of your mental energy and keep you from just enjoying sex for what it is – a connection between two people at one moment in time. Try to focus on what’s happening. Use your senses – what sorts of touch, sounds, and smells are you experiencing? Are they pleasant? Put your attention there.


·         Say “no” if you want to. If you don’t want to have sex with a certain person or at a certain time, you do not have to. You have every right to say “no.” This is also true if you and your partner disagree on sexual practices, like condom use.

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Cycling and Sexual Health

Over the last several years, there has been some debate on whether cycling has a negative impact on one’s sex life. In fact, back in 2012, we thought that biking could harm one’s sexual health. Is that still true? Today, we’ll take a look at the latest research.
What is the problem?
For both men and women, biking puts pressure on the perineum – the area between the anus and scrotum (for men) or vulva (for women). The perineum contains blood vessels and nerves that are essential for sexual arousal and urinary function. When those blood vessels and nerves are compressed, they might not work correctly, causing genital numbness and, for men, erectile dysfunction.
The bike seat (called the saddle) is often to blame. Women have also been warned about positioning the handlebars below the saddle, a stance that puts more pressure on the perineum.
New Research for Women
In March 2018, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published a study on the sexual and urinary effects of cycling for women.
Researchers surveyed over 3,000 women. About two thirds were cyclists, and the remaining third were runners and swimmers.
How did the sexual function of these athletes compare?
Women who were high-intensity cyclists – biking over two years, at least three times a week, with a daily cycling average of at least 25 miles – had betters scores on sexual health assessments. And the scores for low-intensity cyclists (who didn’t meet the high-intensity criteria), runners, and swimmers were about the same.
Still, cyclists were more prone to urinary tract infections, saddle sores, and genital numbness when compared to the runners and swimmers.
Good News for Men
Cycling doesn’t appear to affect men’s sexual function, according to research published in the Journal of Urology in October 2017.
This study compared cyclists with runners and swimmers, too. Almost 4,000 men participated. About 30% were non-cyclists, 47% were low-intensity cyclists, and the rest were high-intensity cyclists (defined with the same criteria as the female cyclists described above).
In this study, both high-intensity and low-intensity cyclists had better scores on sexual health assessments compared to the runners and swimmers. Histories of urinary tract infections were also similar in the men.
However, the cyclists were at higher risk for urethral stricture, a narrowing of the urethra (the pathway in the penis that allows urine and semen to exit the body).
The study also suggested that men could lower their risk for genital numbness if they stood while cycling at least 20% of the time.
“Adjusting the handlebar higher or even with the saddle had lower odds of genital numbness and saddle sores,” the authors added.
Cycle Smart
While these studies have encouraging results, you know your body best. If you’re having sexual difficulties, urinary problems, or genital numbness, make an appointment with your doctor. It’s best to have a full checkup to rule out any medical issues.
If you think the problems are related to cycling, you might try the following strategies:
Take a break from cycling for a while.
Make adjustments to your bike. A bike shop professional can tell you if your bike is a good fit for you and suggest any changes you may need, such as a different type of saddle or another handlebar position.
Consider your stance while riding. Try to sit up straight on your sit bones and avoid leaning forward on your perineum. Also, ride your bike standing every once in a while.
Ask your doctor about recommended cycling habits.
Otherwise, cycling is still fantastic exercise, It keeps your blood pumping, builds strength and endurance, and helps you maintain a healthy weight – all important factors for sexual health and general health.

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How Do Women Feel About Orgasms?

One word that’s often used to describe women’s orgasms is “elusive.” Sometimes, they’re easy to achieve, sometimes not. They can be fueled by both physical stimulation and emotional bonding. They might not happen all the time. They might not happen at all. Or, they might happen multiple times in one encounter.
Indeed, women’s orgasms can be mystifying. But that doesn’t stop researchers from learning more about them, even to the point of asking volunteers to pleasure themselves in an MRI machine for scientific study.
Last year, a team of researchers from Finland analyzed the results of five sex surveys conducted between 1971 and 2015. Focusing on orgasms, the team looked at women’s history with orgasm and what mattered most to them and their partners. Overall, the project involved over 10,000 men and women. The results were published in the journal Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what the researchers discovered, Note: Not all of the surveys asked the same questions. In some cases, results pertain to just one survey.

First Orgasms

Most women had their first orgasms through masturbation; for some, it occurred before age 13. However, first orgasms during intercourse tended to happen at a later age. The women’s average age of first intercourse was 17. Only a quarter had their first intercourse orgasm in their first year of partnered sexual activity. (In contrast, three-quarters of the men did experience orgasm during that first year.)

Importance of Orgasms

About 60% of the women said that having an orgasm was “rather important” while less than 20% felt orgasms were “very important.” About 10% didn’t think orgasms were important at all.
Among women who rated orgasms as very important, about 30% had multiple orgasms the last time they had sex.
For women who didn’t consider orgasms to be important, only 13% climaxed during their last intercourse. One study noted that women in this category may place less value on orgasms as a “sensible coping strategy.” In other words, if women don’t value orgasms, they won’t be disappointed about not having them.
Almost all the women thought that helping their partner reach orgasm was important.

Pathways to Orgasm

Forty-eight percent of women said they climaxed more easily while masturbating compared to intercourse. For 14%, the reverse was true, and for 17%, both methods were equally effective.
Was stimulation of the vagina or clitoris more effective? Over half the women said they usually reached orgasm through stimulation of both areas. Thirty-four percent preferred the clitoris, and 6% climaxed mainly through vaginal stimulation.
For many women, a longer duration of intercourse made them more likely to reach orgasm. For example, those who had intercourse for fifteen minutes were more likely to climax than those who had sex for a shorter time period. However, more time was not always better. Intercourse lasting 20 minutes was not more likely to bring about climax.
Sexual positions could also contribute to orgasm. Some women attained orgasm more easily if they were in an active role, such as with the woman-on-top position. In this way, they had better control over the encounter. Women who took on more passive roles, such as with the man-on-top position, were less likely to climax.

What’s Next?

Throughout this research, there is one common thread: orgasms can be as individual as women themselves. And what works for one woman doesn’t necessarily work for another.

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Coping with Mismatched Sex Drives

You and your partner probably have a lot in common. Or if you’re not partnered, you likely seek common traits in a prospective mate. Whether it’s a love of baseball, camping, or rock concerts, these commonalities help keep you close as a couple.

So, what happens if your sex drives don’t sync?

Having mismatched sex drives is a frequent problem for couples, especially as their relationship matures. One partner might want sex all the time. The other might not be as interested. Does that mean there is a problem with the relationship?
Not necessarily. Some people are just wired to have higher sex drives than others. And that’s okay – until a mismatch happens. Partners who want more sex may take their partner’s rejection personally and feel frustrated and angry. Partners who don’t want sex may feel guilty about disappointing their partner or annoyed and pressured if they are constantly approached about sex.
If you find yourself in this situation, first consider whether one partner’s libido has changed over time.

Medical Problems

Sometimes, a medical issue causes sex drive to drop:


Sexual desire is driven largely by hormones, and hormone production – for both men and women – changes over time. As men get older, their bodies start making less testosterone, and some find themselves less interested in sex. A woman’s libido may also decline during and after menopause, when her estrogen levels drop.


Some medications, like antidepressants, have sexual side effects that can include a dip in sex drive.

Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

Women with HSDD develop a lack of sexual interest, along with distress, that can’t be easily explained by other factors.
A doctor’s visit and treatment could be all that’s needed to bring one’s sex drive back into the usual range.

Relationship Problems

When people are hurt or angry with each other, they can feel less inclined to have sex. Working out the conflict with a trained counselor or therapist can help couples better communicate with each other and decide on their goals, including sexual goals.

Making Compromises

Sometimes, mismatched libidos have nothing to do with hormones or relationships. Some people are just more sexual than others.

Understanding this is the key to compromising.

With that clear, couples can talk together about meeting each other in the middle. Some strategies might include:

Asking questions.

Many couples sweep sexual incompatibility under the rug. But chances are, if you’re sensing a mismatch in sex drive, your partner is too. Have an open discussion about the situation at a time when you’re not feeling angry or frustrated. Ask each other what you want and need. Then try framing a plan.

Understanding exactly what your partner’s needs are.

It can be easy to say that one partner needs more sex than the other. But it might also be that the less sexual partner needs more non-sexual intimacy to feel sexually inclined. Try working on your friendship and romance. Think of activities that can bring you together and nurture your relationship. You might play games together, cook a great meal, take walks after dinner. This time can reinforce your emotional bond and, eventually, your sexual relationship. You can nurture this bond even when you’re not together. If you’re thinking of your partner during the work day, send a romantic email or text. Or pick up his or her favorite dessert on the way home.

Expanding your sexual definitions and repertoire.

Touching, massage, and cuddling while watching TV are other ways to be intimate, which may satisfy the more sexual partner. Some people masturbate, either alone or with their partner watching, kissing, or massaging them. In this way, both partners can still be involved in an intimate act.

Staying honest.

In some cases, partners feel that ending or straying from the relationship (as opposed to negotiating an open one) is the only solution to sexual incompatibility. They should be honest about their feelings and give their partner a chance to respond and make changes, if possible.
Remember that communication and respect are key aspects of compromise. Staying open with your partner and working out a plan together can keep your relationship strong, even if your sex drives are different.

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High Blood Pressure and Sexual Problems

You probably know it’s important to keep your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure (also called hypertension) can lead to all sorts of health problems, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure.
But did you know that high blood pressure can cause problems in your sex life, too?

What is High Blood Pressure and How Can it Affect Sex?

As blood travels through your arteries, it exerts a certain amount of force along the arterial walls. This force is blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the more force your blood exerts against these walls.
Over time, high blood pressure can damage the linings of your blood vessels, leading to plaque buildup and atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries. When this happens, blood has a harder time flowing to essential parts of the body.
Since blood flow to the penis is an important mechanism for erection, many men with high blood pressure develop erectile dysfunction, which means they can’t get or keep an erection firm enough for sex.

Men with high blood pressure might have problems with ejaculation and desire, too.
Reduced blood flow to the genitals can also be an issue for women, interfering with desire, arousal, vaginal lubrication, and orgasm.
Anxiety over high blood pressure and its associated health problems can affect with the sex lives of both men and women, especially if it weakens relationships. Couples may have less desire for sex. Or they may not feel sexually satisfied.

Sexual Side Effects of Blood Pressure Medications

Unfortunately, medications used to treat high blood pressure can cause sexual problems themselves. For example, diuretics (water pills) can reduce blood flow to the penis and lower levels of zinc, which a man’s body needs to make testosterone. Beta blockers are another type of blood pressure drug that can have sexual side effects.
If you think your medication is causing sexual problems, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. It might be possible to adjust your dose or change the drug you take. Don’t make any changes without a doctor’s guidance, however.

Manage Your Blood Pressure

There are many steps you can take to lower your blood pressure and keep it at a healthy level. Sometimes, all it takes is changing your lifestyle a bit:
Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You might also consider fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, and nuts. Keep red meat, added sugars, and alcohol to a minimum.
Cut back on salt and sodium. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends no more than one teaspoon of salt each day. Check the sodium content of the foods you eat. Remember, processed foods tend to be high in sodium.
Keep your weight under control. Being overweight increases your risk for high blood pressure.
Exercise regularly. Talk to your doctor about a fitness plan that’s right for you.
If you smoke, quit. Avoid secondhand smoke as well.
Reduce your stress levels. Blood pressure can rise when we’re excited or stressed. Find ways to relax and try not to overextend yourself with commitments. Ask your friends and family for help if you need to.
Your doctor can help you with these strategies and suggest others tailored to you. If you need medication, be sure to take it as directed.

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What is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and can it benefit sexual health or performance?

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy refers to injections used to reduce inflammation and promote tissue healing. Athletes sometimes have PRP to speed up the healing of sports injuries. PRP has also been used for hair loss, cosmetic surgery, and osteoarthritis.
Some practitioners claim that PRP injections into the penis or the vagina can improve sexual function and satisfaction. This use is considered experimental and has not been widely studied.

P Shots and O Shots

For men, the injection is called the “Priapus shot” or “P shot” and is thought to improve erections and increase penis size.
For women, PRP therapy is called the “Orgasm shot” or “O Shot.” Practitioners claim that the shot leads to heightened libido, better vaginal lubrication, and more intense orgasms. Again, these claims are not evidence based.
The process involves separating platelets from a patient’s own blood and injecting them directly into the genitals.

What are platelets?

When a person has a cut, scrape, or other type of bleeding wound, platelets – small blood cells – work to stop the bleeding by clotting the blood. Proteins in platelets also contribute to wound healing.
Some scientists believe that injecting platelets from a patient’s own blood into a wounded area could help it heal more quickly.
In 2017, researchers reported on a small study of nine men with erectile dysfunction (ED). Each participant received one PRP injection in addition to a standard ED treatment (medication or vacuum therapy). The men’s scores on an ED assessment did get better, and none of the men had serious side effects.
The authors wrote that “PRP may represent a safe and viable option as a supplementary therapy for penile rehabilitation.” But they added that more research is needed.
This small study had no control group. Therefore, the only true result was that PRP therapy did not cause significant harm because all patients underwent typical erection therapies in addition to the PRP.
Currently, regulatory agencies have not approved PRP therapy for the treatment of sexual dysfunction.
Nevertheless, some practitioners market PRP therapy with promises of better sex. These claims should be considered with caution. There have been no large randomized controlled trials to show efficacy.
In 2018, the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA – an ISSM-affiliated society) released a position statement on ED restorative therapies, including PRP therapy. The organization encourages further research so that clinicians can fully understand the pros and cons of therapy, as well as its long term safety.
People considering PRP therapy for sexual dysfunction are encouraged to see their healthcare provider for advice on standard treatments that are backed with solid scientific evidence. In some cases, patients see sexual improvements by making lifestyle changes, addressing an existing health condition (such as diabetes or heart disease), changing medications, counseling, or communicating more openly with a partner.

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Are there any “natural aphrodisiacs” that actually work?

For centuries, men and women have searched for foods, herbs, and other substances that could enhance their sexual experiences. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines “aphrodisiac” as “any product that bears labeling claims that it will arouse or increase sexual desire, or that it will improve sexual performance.”
In 2015, scientists analyzed approximately fifty medical studies on popular products marketed as aphrodisiacs. Overall, they concluded that more trials are needed before doctors can recommend any substances. They also noted that some products could be unsafe and cause dangerous interactions with drugs one is already taking
The study identified some products that should be avoided completely due to harmful side effects:
  • Bufo toad
  • Mad honey
  • Spanish fly
  • Yohimbine
The following products didn’t have enough data to support their use:
  • Alura
  • Cannabis
  • Chasteberry
  • Chocolate (cacao)
  • Damiana
  • Fenugreek
  • Hersynergy
  • Horny goat weed
  • Oysters
  • Potency wood
  • Rhinoceros horn
  • Saw palmetto
  • Stronvivo
  • Wild yam
The authors added that there is not enough evidence to support the use of vitamins, minerals, and vaginal tightening products as aphrodisiacs.
The authors did find evidence to support the use of these products as aphrodisiacs.
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Maca
  • Tribulus terrestris
  • ArginMax
  • Zestra
However, patients should be aware that these products can still interact with other medications. For example, ginseng can interfere with anticoagulant medications, which help prevent blood clots. In addition, people with hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast cancer, should not use ginseng.
Patients should always consult with their doctor before trying any supplement or over-the-counter product. They should also notify their doctor about any products they are currently using.
It’s important to remember that sexual desire, arousal, and performance depend on a wide range of factors. A person’s overall health, psychological well-being, and emotional state can all be involved. For example, medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease can impair a man’s erections. Women going through menopause might have trouble with vaginal lubrication. Fatigue, stress, anxiety, and relationship problems can make people less interested in sex.
If you are having a sexual issue, be sure to see your doctor. Medical treatment and sexual therapy may be needed, but your healthcare provider can tailor your treatment to your specific needs.

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How might cancer patients preserve their sexuality?

How might cancer patients preserve their sexuality?

Many cancer patients face sexual problems from cancer treatment. Diminished libido, arousal difficulties, pain, vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction (ED), and ejaculation trouble are some of the more common effects.
In some cases, patients can make decisions about sexual function when they plan their treatment with their oncology team. The following slides offer some examples.


 Testosterone is an important sex hormone for men, as it drives much of their libido and sexual function. Some men feel that their quality of life would suffer if they were not able to experience intimacy the same way as they did before cancer. They might opt for less aggressive cancer treatments that preserve testosterone levels, even if that means their prognosis is poorer.

Nerve-sparing Treatments

Nerves play an essential role in sexuality. When a person is sexually stimulated, nerves carry messages between the brain and the genitals. This starts the arousal process – such as an erection for men or vaginal lubrication for women.
Some cancer treatments, such as radical prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate gland) can potentially damage nerves related to sexual function. For example, the prostate gland is surrounded by nerves necessary for erections. In nerve-sparing procedures, surgeons preserve as many nerves as possible to lower the risk of ED.
Hysterectomies and colorectal surgeries may also be done in a nerve-sparing manner.

Nipple-sparing Treatments

 Women with breast cancer may choose nipple-sparing mastectomy, which preserves the nipple area. Breasts can then be reconstructed around the nipple. Women may not feel the same nipple sensations as they did before surgery, but keeping the nipples can foster a more positive body image, which contributes to better sexual function.
Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for preserving sexuality after cancer treatment. Patients should ask their doctors what will work best for their personal situation.
While some physical aspects can be addressed, it is still important to maintain healthy intimate relationships with partners and take advantage of products and services that can help maintain sexual function.

For example,

water-based lubricants may make intercourse more comfortable for women with vaginal dryness. Treatments for erectile dysfunction is available, and men should not hesitate to ask about them. (Note: There many approaches to treating sexual problems after cancer, and one’s doctor can provide the best advice.)
Counseling and sex therapy – alone or as a couple – may also be beneficial.

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How does thyroid disease impact a person’s sexual health?

How does thyroid disease impact a person’s sexual health?

Located in the neck, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that produces a number of hormones important for a person’s metabolism. These hormones have other functions, too, such as controlling body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Hypothyroidism – an underactive thyroid – occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This condition is more common in women, but men can be affected as well.

Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid, when the gland produces too much thyroid hormone.

Both types of thyroid disease have been associated with sexual dysfunction.

The prevalence of sexual dysfunction among people with thyroid disease is unclear, but estimates have been made.

In a 2018 review of 12 pertinent medical studies, researchers estimated that between 59% and 63% of men and 22% to 46% of women with hypothyroidism also have sexual problems.

The estimated sexual dysfunction rates for people with hyperthyroidism ranged from 48% to 77% for men and 44% to 60% for women.

The 2018 review also pointed out types of sexual dysfunction linked to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.


Men with both types of thyroid disease were likely to have erectile dysfunction (ED) or problems with ejaculation.

The study authors noted that delayed ejaculation was “strongly associated” with hypothyroidism and that premature ejaculation was similarly associated with hyperthyroidism.


Women with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism often have less desire for sex, trouble with vaginal lubrication, and problems reaching orgasm. They are also less likely to be satisfied with their sex lives and more likely to experience sexual pain.

It is not clear why people with thyroid disease have sexual problems, but the authors of the 2018 study suggested some theories.

One possibility involves hormones. In men, thyroid problems might contribute to lower levels of testosterone, an important hormone for sex drive and erections. Low levels of thyroid hormone could contribute to women’s sexual dysfunction, too.

People with hypothyroidism might produce high levels of another hormone called prolactin, which has been linked to hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD) – low libido that causes distress.

Thyroid disease can affect sexuality in subtle ways, too. Sometimes, conditions associated with thyroid disease, like fatigue, depression, anxiety, and metabolic syndrome, result in sexual problems, too.

Fortunately, treating thyroid disease often improves sexual difficulties. Treatments might include thyroid hormone replacement, medications, radioactive iodine, or surgery


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