Menopause is a major life transition for many women, often bringing unexpected changes in sexual function. Postmenopausal women may face factors such as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), and pelvic organ prolapse (POP), which are changes associated with decreased estrogen levels and, in the case of POP, weakened pelvic floor muscles. They may also be dealing with chronic conditions that they developed later in life.
Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients and create thousands of chemicals when they are burned, at least 69 of which are known to cause cancer (American Lung Association, 2020). By now, it’s no secret that smoking has adverse health effects. Many studies have demonstrated the link between smoking cigarettes and serious health conditions including cancer, heart disease, chronic lung diseases, stroke, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Perhaps lesser known is the impact that smoking can have on a person’s sexual function. The following are the ways in which smoking could impact your sexual health.
Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is a prostate cancer treatment that suppresses the production of testosterone (a type of androgen or male sex hormone) in a person’s body. Prostate cancer cells require testosterone to grow, so stopping testosterone production can shrink or slow the growth of the cancer. ADT can be achieved through certain medications or orchiectomy (a surgery to remove the testicles). On its own, ADT cannot cure prostate cancer.
Gender dysphoria is the distress a transgender individual may experience as a result of their gender identity not matching the sex they were assigned at birth. Not all transgender people experience gender dysphoria. However, for those who do, gender-affirming care (e.g., gender-affirming hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery) has been shown to reduce distress caused by gender incongruence.
Chemsex, or taking psychoactive substances to enhance or extend a sexual experience, is growing in popularity in many parts of the world. Often, the substances used for this purpose are referred to collectively as “chems,” but they include crystal methamphetamine, cathinone (mephedrone, 3MMC, 4MMC), GHB/GBL (gammahydroxubutyrate/gammabutyrolactone), and freebase cocaine (or “crack”).
Some men believe that they ejaculate too quickly during sexual activity or feel that they do not have much (if any) control over how quickly they ejaculate. This situation can lead to personal distress, partner distress, decreased sexual satisfaction, and/or relationship issues, but when is it technically considered premature ejaculation (PE)?
Sexual difficulties are a common and distressing side effect of prostate cancer and its treatment. Patients who experience sexual dysfunction (e.g., erectile dysfunction (ED), loss of sexual desire, or both) after having a prostatectomy or undergoing radiation or hormone therapy may also struggle with the psychological and relational ramifications of this change. For example, they may experience a loss of self-confidence regarding their body image and sexual performance and/or worry about not being able to satisfy their sexual partner(s).
Historically, the gender binary, or the classification of gender into two distinct, opposite forms (masculine and feminine), was the prevailing system of gender classification. However, not everyone identifies as being exclusively male or female, and not everyone’s gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.
The pelvic floor is a hammock-like group of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues at the base of the pelvis that holds the pelvic organs in place. Pelvic organs include the bladder, urethra, intestines, and rectum (for men and women), prostate (for men), and uterus, cervix, and vagina (for women).
Peyronie’s disease (PD) is a condition in which fibrous plaques (sections of scar tissue) develop under the skin of the penis, resulting in curved, sometimes painful erections. Other symptoms may include erectile dysfunction (ED) and shortening of the penis. Penile traction therapy (PTT) is a treatment option for PD that is aimed at reducing penile curvature, regaining length, and enhancing girth. PTT involves wearing a penile traction device that stretches the penis straight out or stretches it in the opposite direction of the curve for a specified amount of time each day.