Sex, Intimacy and Parkinson’s


Many people with Parkinson’s experience changes in libido and sexual function, sometimes even before the first movement symptoms.  The causes can be many- some related to PD and some not.  Increased sexual desire can be associated with dopamine medicines especially dopamine agonists.  Listed below are just a few of the causes:

Parkinson’s related motor symptoms

  • Trouble with movement- tremor, stiffness, slowness, dyskinesia, dystonia
  • Stamina, Pain
Parkinson’s related nonmotor problems
  • Autonomic nervous system changes- altered neural control of sexual function
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep changes
Medicines used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms
  • Antidepressants (especially SSRIs)
  • Muscle relaxants and sleep aids
  • Dopamine agonists (increase sexual desire)
Other medical problems or medicines
  •  High blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, constipation,obesity, arthritis, bladder control, diabetes, prostate disease

Psychological factors that affect sexual health

  • Self esteem, Loss of control,  Anger/resentment, Negative body image, Changing role with loved one, Fear
Issues for partners and couples
  • Fatigue, Change to caregiver role,  Anger/resentment, Fear, Depression, Anxiety, Stress, Loss of interest, Focus on disease,  Communication problems
To learn more and find ways to help, see the NWPF Wellness Center
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Filed under Non-movement Symptoms, Relationships

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