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Information about Sex After Stroke



Information about Sex After Stroke
Unfortunately, stroke takes victims every day. However, many people carry on with their lives after stroke. Despite that several things have changed, and life is not the same as before. Especially for stroke patients in their 30s and 40s, who still have many years of life ahead of them and will naturally feel upset to think of living all those years, dealing with the burdens of post stroke impediments. One concern that many survivors in that age group have, is sex after stroke. Many patients fear that stroke means the end of their sexual life.
There is very little information available about sexuality after a stroke. Initially after a stroke, sex is understandably furthest from the mind of the patient; given the stress and strong emotions he or she is dealing with. However, as the time passes, the recovery progresses, and the patient often begins to have sexual feelings again and may want to resume sexual activity. This is very normal and should be encouraged. Sex is generally not damaging to the health of the stroke patient and it can have positive effects on the patientís well-being. It can improve the self-esteem and is certainly an important source of pleasure, relaxation and intimacy for the patient and his or her partner.
It is unrealistic to assume that the sexual ability will remain unchanged by the stroke. Frustration is more than often, the first emotion patients will encounter when attempting to resume their sexual life. In fact, there are several ways through which stroke affects a personís ability to have sex. Psychologically, the patient may fear getting another stroke during sex. However this theory stays unfounded and is more of a myth, as sexual excitement does increase blood pressure but not sufficiently to cause a stroke in most cases.
Commonly though, stroke leads to depression and loss of interest in the pleasures of life, including of course, desire for sex. For instance, the changes in physical appearance often affect the patientís view of his or her own sexual attractiveness and results in loss of confidence, hence a reluctance to resume sexual activity.
Stroke can affect the brain causing the patient to lose the ability to speak or understand others and he or she may also have difficulty communicating sexual needs to his or her partner.
Physical weakness and fatigue in stroke patients can also have impact on his/her ability to perform the sexual act. For instance, the patient will not have the physical endurance that he or she had prior to the stroke.
Here below is a short guide for those who wonder if sex is allowed after stroke or not.
Do not rush things
Patients should take one step at a time. Make sure that they are relaxed. Be aware that the recovery process after stroke is a long path and it might be understandably impossible to have sex right after it. Patients should not rush things only because they feel guilty about their partner. As much as they should make sure that their partner understands the situation as well and doesnít rush them either.
Turn in sex position
In several cases a part of the body remains paralyzed. This should not be an obstacle; the most difficult seems to be getting adapted mentally to those changes. However, the patient and his/her partner are still the same persons so it doesnít really matter from a purely physical point of view. Patients should then look for new sex positions to cope with the disability problem. For instance, if one of the legs and the hands is paralyzed, the side by side position can be a way to deal with it without compromising the pleasure. Some couples find that supporting their weaker side with pillows helps while having sex. Overall, patients should make sure that the stroke victim is positioned so that the healthy side is uppermost.
Other question marks
For men who have suffered from stroke, there is always a doubt if they will be able to have an erection after a stroke. In general, it is possible, as the nerves and blood supply to the penis still work well enough to give an erection. However this still depends very much on the type of stroke and in some cases, the medications used after a stroke may also prevent a man from having an erection. Stroke patients then may want to consider using Viagra or Cialis, which is possible, but only six months after the stroke.
For women of child-bearing age who have had stroke, it is important to avoid contraceptives with estrogen as they bring a slightly higher risk of causing strokes.
Do not believe myths
What we want to convey to patients, is that an amazing and satisfactory sex life is still totally possible after stroke. That they should not believe myths that say sex after stroke is forbidden because it leads to another stroke. Patients should simply make sure that they and his/her partner are feeling comfortable, take it easy, and everything will be just fine.
If patients feel they cannot cope with it alone, they may want to seek help. Many physicians may not be very comfortable addressing these concerns and some patients may also feel too shy to bring up the subject with doctors. Two other solutions are available: either going to see a sex therapist or trying to call a teaching hospital in the nearest area, as they may have a clinic that offers a more affordable counseling fee.