When was the last time you went to the doctor? Chances are if you are 65 years and older you have been to some kind of healthcare provider in the past three months. It may have been for a blood pressure check to get a refill or for another pesky ache or pain. While at the office did your doctor ask about your sex life?
“What sex life?” or “I would never...” You might be thinking.
Many older adults continue to be sexual, but their sexual health and well-being is often overlooked by the medical community. It is important to have a dialogue with your doctors about your sexual health. Yes, it could be potentially embarrassing because the doctor may be young enough to be your grandchild. It might even be embarrassing to the doctor, but as my mom would say bluntly, “Get over it!” Your sexual health is part of your overall health. A healthy sex life can improve your overall quality of life.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know if your medications were causing sexual side effects and it wasn’t just “old age?” Or that high cholesterol is linked to erectile dysfunction. It’s easy to adopt the mentality of “that ship has sailed.” The question is do you want that ship to sail? Sex isn’t just for the young. Last time I checked there wasn’t an expiration date for a sex life. If sex is still important to you ask your doctor. You may even teach your doctor a thing or two.
Tips on What to Ask:
Do my medications have any sexual side effects?
For men: What are the possible causes of my erectile dysfunction? (Don’t just settle for a prescription for Viagra or Levitra!)
For women: Ask about lubrication issues or pain issues if applicable.
Ask about any changes that you have noticed, such as pain, bladder incontinence, erectile difficulties, and/or general discomfort.
It’s okay to be embarrassed, but you have the right to ask. It’s your health!
The doctor may be uncomfortable. It has nothing to do with you. Not all doctors received the same training and their comfort levels may be different. If this is an ongoing problem, consider switching doctors.
Consider seeing a specialist: gynecologist, urologist or sex therapist
You have the right to be happy in all areas of your life and that includes your sexual life.