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Sex after a stroke

This is one aspect of post stroke care that is often not discussed by patients and their doctors because of embarrassment. People who were sexually active before a stroke may have problems with libido and satisfaction after the stroke.

The factors responsible for this include psychological ones such as fear of bringing on another stroke, fear of impotence and lack of interest. Physical disability may make sexual intercourse difficult.

In addition, other co-existing medical problems and their treatment (tablets) may reduce libido and contribute to impotence.

Stroke victims should be reassured that having sex will not cause another stroke. People can resume sexual activity as soon as they feel able to after a stroke. The only exception to this is in patients with sub-arachnoid haemorrhage due to a ruptured aneurysm where the aneurysm has not been treated by coiling or clipping. This is because of the risk of a sudden rise of the blood pressure which may bring on another bleed soon after the first bleed.

Treatment of sexual problems consists of counselling via a sexual dysfunction clinic, consideration of other factors including a review of prescribed medication and the use of tablets such as Viagra (this has to be used with caution and under medical supervision).

Read more from the National Stroke Association