A new survey has revealed fears of having sex among stroke survivors.
The research, conducted by the Stroke Association, found that one in three stroke survivors are ‘too scared’ to get back into the swing of things.
Furthermore, 57% said that having a stroke had significantly affected their sex lives, with participants expressing that they are afraid to have sex in case it causes another stroke.
Out of the 1,000 stroke survivors who took part in the survey, one third also said having sex would be difficult.
According to the charity, it is common for the life-threatening medical condition to cause people to feel ‘low or depressed’, as well as lose interest in sex.
There is a variety of additional factors that impact sex after a stroke too, such as muscle weakness or spasticity, and finding a comfortable position – but there is medication and treatment available.
Aside from physical disabilities, people may also experience ’emotional changes’ and problems in their relationship.
This is reflected in the new findings, with one fifth of the participants claiming their partner doesn’t want to have sex anymore.
Additionally, approximately one in six survivors said they don’t have sex at all.
‘When someone has a stroke their life changes in an instant and it’s very common for it to affect your relationships, including your sex life,’ said Bridget Bergin, executive director of stroke support at the Stroke Association.
‘It’s not unusual to feel low or depressed after a stroke, and this can make you feel as if you have lost interest in sex.
‘The emotional problems are often compounded by the physical disabilities caused by the stroke. Relationships change with many stroke survivors saying that the person who was once their partner has now become their carer.’
So, can having sex cause a stroke?
‘As a stroke survivor, it’s OK to have sex, unless your doctor tells you otherwise,’ said Bridget.
‘Sex, like other forms of physical activity, can raise your blood pressure. However, this is unlikely to be a problem except in rare cases.’
There is one exception, which applies to ‘people who have had a subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding on the brain) due to a burst aneurysm’. Sex could trigger bleeding, however the risk is very small, a report by the charity from 2017 outlines.
‘If you are concerned, check with your doctor,’ adds Bridget.
‘The Stroke Association can also offer confidential advice to people who call our Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 or visit our website.’
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