Neurological Disorders May Inhibit Patient Sexuality

Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease may cause sexual dysfunction.

Romantic relationships and a person’s love life can suffer tremendously from neurological disorders due to impaired sexuality, which researchers discovered has a larger scaled effect on individuals than previously thought.

These findings were presented at the Second Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Copenhagen, which indicate that neurological issues can cause a loss of desire, erectile dysfunction, and infertility in both men and women.

“Erectile dysfunction in men and orgasm dysfunction in women are the most frequent sexual consequences of neurological deficits,” said researcher David B. Vodušek.

Typically, lesions in the frontal and temporal lobes result in sexual dysfunction for serious neurological disorder patients. For epileptic patients, sexual issues can include hypersexuality but more often have a decrease in sexual arousability.

Men and women with Parkinson’s disease report very weak sexual desire as a result of the disease and the detrimental effect it has on passion. Male’s with Parkinson’s disease frequently report erectile dysfunction and issues with ejaculation and orgasms.

In individuals with multiple sclerosis, it can result in genital sensory dysfunction, as well as similar sexual dysfunctions with Parkinson’s disease. Diabetic males commonly experience erectile dysfunction, and retrograde ejaculation could occur.

Women with polyneuropathy could experience greater difficulty in vaginal lubrication and arousal. In order to determine any neurogenic sexual dysfunction, clinical screening is critical.

“The dedicated neurologist can treat typical and simple sexual problems in his patient and reserve urological consultation for the more complex issues and for dysfunctions that prove refractory,” Vodušek said.

Even if the initial treatment goal is to improve neurological symptoms, researchers note that the patient’s current quality of life should be considered, including their sex life.

“A sexual consultation is a must in this context,” Vodušek said. “The person's partner should definitely become involved in these consultations. Whether genital pain or panic about the next attempt of sexual intercourse. Solutions can be found for many problems. Lubricants help against vaginal dryness, for instance, and oral drugs help to counter erectile dysfunction, especially those based on cGMP phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors.”

If oral therapy proves unsuccessful, injections into the penis could help aid the organ, despite erectile dysfunction.

Additionally, patients with Parkinson’s disease may benefit from a dopamine treatment to help normalize their sexual desire.

“Compassionate, respectful consultations that consider the patient holistically instead of focusing on individual body parts are among the best means of getting a sexual problem under control,” Vodušek said. “They do much to sensitize the patients about certain phenomena that might occur in the course of the disease. If certain dysfunctions do end up actually occurring, the patient will have any easier time addressing them.”