How Multiple Sclerosis Affects Your Sex Life

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If you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, then you’re already aware of all the symptoms that are associated with the disease – fatigue, dizziness, tingling, paralysis, bladder issues, and vision problems – but why is that no one talks about the sexual dysfunction that is often brought on by MS?

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According to a survey conducted by Dr. Frederick Foley, Director of Neuropsychology and Psychosocial Research at the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Holy Name Hospital in New Jersey, 67 percent of 8,300 people with MS reported experiencing some sort of sexual dysfunction.

For women, issues can range from loss of sensation, loss of vaginal lubrication and inability to reach an orgasm. Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection and ejaculating are common issues for men. Low libido is also a common problem for both sexes.

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While it’s understandable why many MS patients might feel embarrassed to discuss sex with their doctors, doing so can actually improve your sex life. A great way to bring up the subject to your doctor is by making it very general in the beginning.

You can start off by saying something along the lines of, “I’ve heard that a lot of people with MS have issues with sexual dysfunction. Is that true?” Your doctor may then become curious and ask you if you’re experiencing sexual dysfunction. Although you don’t have to go into extreme detail, you can respond, “Yes, I’ve been noticing a few changes lately and I’m not sure what to do.”

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At the end of the day, your doctor is there to serve you, so it’s important to not hold back and be as honest as you can with him or her. The more information you can provide, the better off you’ll be.

Remember: Your doctor cannot help you if you don’t inform him or her what’s going on. Also? Confide in your partner. Letting him or her know how MS is affecting you makes it much easier to cope with. The key to a healthy sex life in any relationship is intimacy and communication at all times.


Visit the Living with Multiple Sclerosis center for more need-to-know information.