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How To Manage Sexual Side Effects of Prescription Medications

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Updated November 03, 2008

Many medications come with sexual side effects. Sexual side effects of medication can include physical sexual side effects as well as emotional, and psychological sexual side effects. They can be temporary or long term, mild or severe. Whether a sexual side effect is common or rare doesn’t matter so much when you are experiencing it. Here are some tips to coping with sexual side effects of medication.

Time Required: Sexual side effects of medication can change often, dealing with it is an ongoing struggle.

Here's How:

  1. Do Your Homework
    The web has become a boon for anyone interested in researching disease and treatment. There's a dark side to this which is information overload, conflicting information, and an enormous number of scam websites. Be careful to know where the information is coming from and keep the references so you can pass them on to your physician. Check out these resources to help you research different medications and their sexual side effects.

  2. Talk With Your Doctor
    It's more common for physicians to have some knowledge of the sexual side effects of medications they prescribe. And when they don’t, they should be able to get it. But often doctors won’t raise the issue of sexuality, which leaves it to you to talk to your doctor about sex. If sexuality is important to you, make sure you’re doctor knows this from the outset.

  3. Adjusting the Dosage
    You may be able to adjust the dose of the medication you're on to reduce sexual side effects without losing the positive effects of the medication. You need to do this in consultation with your doctor. Some doctors will be more comfortable with this than others. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor this before you start on a new treatment.

  4. Changing Medications
    This won’t work in every situation, but there are some medications that can be switched and have fewer sexual side effects. For example SSRIs are a class of anti-depressants known to have several sexual side effects. Many people find that Wellbutrin, a different class of anti-depressant, comes with fewer negative sexual side effects.

  5. Timing Medication Around Sexual Activity
    Some people struggle with the myth that sex always has to be spontaneous. But when you think of it, between work, making food, taking care of kids, and the rest of life’s responsibilities, sex is rarely completely spontaneous. If you can use a medication that only requires one dose a day, sexual a sex date before you take your dose.

  6. Talk About a "Drug Holiday"
    This won’t be appropriate for every situation, but there are some treatments that could allow for you to stop the medication for a day (or possibly two) each week. If this is a possibility it can be another way of creating time (and energy) for an enjoyable sex life.

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