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    Sexuality in old age

    Many people want and need to have a close relationship with others as they get older. For some people, this includes the desire to continue an active and satisfying sex life. With aging, that may mean adapting sexual activity to accommodate physical, health, and other changes.

    There are many different ways to have sex and achieve a feeling of intimacy, alone or with a partner. 

    The expression of your sexuality could include many types of intimate contact or stimulation. Some adults may choose not to engage in sexual activity, and that’s normal, too.

    Here we explore some of the common issues older adults may face with sexuality.

    What are the normal changes?

    Normal aging brings physical changes to both men and women. These changes sometimes affect the ability to have and enjoy sexual intercourse.

    A woman may notice changes in her vagina. As women age, the vagina can become shorter and narrower. The vaginal walls may become thinner and a little stiffer. Most women will have less vaginal lubrication, and it may take longer for the vagina to lubricate naturally. These changes could make certain types of sexual activity, such as vaginal penetration, painful or less desirable. If vaginal dryness is a problem, using a water-based lubricant or lubricated condoms can make penetration more comfortable. If a woman is using hormone therapy to treat hot flashes or other symptoms of menopause, you may want to have sex more often than you did before hormone therapy.

    As men age, sexual impotence (also called erectile dysfunction or ED) becomes more common. ED is the loss of the ability to achieve and maintain an erection. ED can make it take a man longer to get an erection. His erection may not be as firm or as big as it used to be. Loss of erection after orgasm may occur more quickly, or it may take longer before another erection is possible. ED is not a problem if it happens once in a while, but if it happens often, talk to the best sexologist in Delhi.

    Talk to your partner about these changes and how you are feeling. The sexologist doctor in Delhi may have suggestions to help make intercourse easier.

    What causes sexual problems?

    Some illnesses, disabilities, medications, and surgeries can affect your ability to have and enjoy sex.

    Arthritis. Joint pain from arthritis can make sexual contact uncomfortable. Exercise, medication, and possibly joint replacement surgery can help alleviate this pain. Rest, warm baths, and changing the position or timing of sexual activity may help.

    Chronic pain. Pain can interfere with intimacy among older people. Chronic pain does not have to be a part of aging and can often be treated. However, some pain medications can interfere with sexual function. Always talk to your doctor if you have side effects from any medication.

    Dementia. Some people with dementia show increased interest in sexuality and physical closeness, but may not be able to judge what sexual behavior is appropriate. People with severe dementia may not recognize their spouse or partner, but still want sexual contact and may seek it out with another person. It can be confusing and difficult to know how to handle this situation. In this case, it may also be helpful to talk to a psychiatrist in Delhi, nurse, or social worker who is trained in caring for people with dementia.

    Diabetes. This is one of the diseases that can cause erectile dysfunction in some men. In most cases, medical treatment can help. Less is known about how diabetes affects sexuality in older women. Women with diabetes are more prone to vaginal yeast infections, which can cause itching and irritation and make intercourse uncomfortable or undesirable. Fungal infections can be treated.

    Heart disease. The narrowing and hardening of the arteries can change the blood vessels in such a way that blood does not flow freely. As a result, men and women can have problems with orgasms. For both men and women, it can take longer to become aroused, and for some men, it can be difficult to get or keep an erection. People who have had a heart attack, or their partners, may fear that having sex will cause another attack. Although sexual activity is generally safe, always follow your doctor’s advice. If your heart problems get worse and you have chest pain or shortness of breath even while you rest, your sexologist in Rohini may want to change your treatment plan.

    Incontinence. Loss of bladder control or urine leakage is more common as people, especially women, get older. The extra pressure on the belly during sexual intercourse can cause urine to leak. Changing positions or emptying your bladder before and after intercourse can help with this situation. The good news is that incontinence can usually be treated by urologist in Rohini.

    Stroke. The ability to have sex is sometimes affected by a stroke. A change in positions or some medical devices can help people with ongoing weakness or paralysis to have sexual intercourse. Some people who are paralyzed from the waist down are still able to orgasm and feel pleasure.

    Depression. Lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy, such as intimacy and sexual activity, can be a symptom of depression. Sometimes it’s hard for a person to know if they are depressed. Talk to the best psychiatrist in Delhi; depression can be treated.

    Surgery. Many of us worry about having any type of surgery; it can be even more problematic when it comes to the breasts or genital area. Most people go back to the kind of sex life they enjoyed before surgery.

    Hysterectomy is surgery to remove a woman’s uterus for pain, bleeding, fibroids, or other reasons. Often when an older woman has a hysterectomy, her ovaries are also removed. Deciding whether to have this surgery can cause women and their partners to worry about their future sex lives. If you are concerned about any changes you may have with a hysterectomy, talk to your gynecologist or surgeon in Delhi.

    Mastectomy is surgery to remove all or part of a woman’s breast due to breast cancer. This surgery can cause some women to lose interest in sex, or it can make them feel less desirable or attractive to their partners. In addition to talking with the sexologist in Pitampura, it is sometimes helpful to talk with other women who have had this surgery. 

    Prostatectomy is surgery that removes all or part of a man’s prostate due to cancer or an enlarged prostate. It can cause urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction. If you need this operation, talk to your urologist in Delhi about your concerns before surgery.

    Medicines. Some medicines can cause sexual problems. These include some blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers, medicines for Parkinson’s disease or cancer, appetite suppressants, medicines for mental problems, and medicines for ulcers. Some can lead to erectile dysfunction or make it difficult for men to ejaculate. Some medicines can reduce sexual desire in women or cause vaginal dryness or difficulty in achieving arousal and orgasm. Check with your sexologist in Patel Nagar to find out if there is a different medication that does not have this side effect.

    Alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can cause erection problems in men and delay orgasm in women.

    Am I too old to worry about safe sex?

    Age does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. Older people who are sexually active may be at risk for diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia infection, genital herpes, hepatitis B, genital warts, and trichomoniasis.

    Almost anyone who is sexually active is also at risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The number of older people with HIV/AIDS is increasing. You are at risk for HIV/AIDS if you or your partner have more than one sexual partner, if you are having unprotected sex, or if you or your partner share needles or syringes. To protect yourself, always use a condom during sex that includes vaginal or anal penetration.

    Men need to have a full erection before putting on a condom.

    Talk to your sexologist in Rajendra Nagar about ways to protect yourself from all sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Get regular checkups and tests. Talk to your partner. A person is never too old to be in a risky situation.

    Can emotions play a role?

    Often sexuality is a delicate balance of emotional and physical issues. The way a person feels can affect what they can do and what they want to do. Many older couples find greater satisfaction in their sex life than they did when they were younger. In many cases, they have fewer distractions, more time and privacy, don’t worry about causing a pregnancy, and enjoy greater intimacy with a person who has been their life partner.

    As we age, our bodies change, including our weight, skin, and muscle tone, and some older adults are not very comfortable with their aging bodies. Older adults, both men and women, may worry that their partners no longer find them attractive. Aging-related sexual problems like the ones mentioned above can cause stress and worry. This concern can make it difficult for a person to enjoy a fulfilling sex life.

    Older couples face the same daily stresses that affect people of any age. They can also bring additional concerns of illness, retirement, and lifestyle changes, all of which can lead to sexual difficulties. Talk openly with your partner and try not to blame yourself or your partner. It may also help to talk to a sex therapist, either alone or with your partner. Some therapists have special training to help with sexual problems. If you feel changes in your partner’s attitude toward sex, don’t assume it’s because they’re no longer interested in you or an active sex life. Talk to your partner about the situation. Many of the things that cause sexual problems in older adults can be remedied.

    What I can do?

    There are things you can do for yourself to have an active and enjoyable sex life. If you have a partner you’ve been with for a long time, take time to enjoy each other and understand the changes you’re both facing.

    Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if you have a problem that affects your sex life. The sexologist in Delhi can suggest a treatment. For example, the most common sexual difficulty in older women is painful intercourse caused by vaginal dryness. Your sexologist in Uttam Nagar may suggest that you use over-the-counter vaginal lubricants or moisturizers. Water-based lubricants come in handy when needed to make sex more comfortable. Moisturizers are used regularly, every 2-3 days. Or, the doctor might suggest a type of vaginal estrogen.

    If the problem is erectile dysfunction, it can often be managed and perhaps even reversed with medication or other treatments. There are pills that can help, but they should not be used by men taking medications that contain nitrates, such as nitroglycerin. The pills have possible side effects. Be wary of dietary or herbal supplements that promise to treat erectile dysfunction. Always talk to your sexologist in Delhi before taking any herb or supplement.

    Physical problems can change your sex life as you get older. If you’re single, going out and meeting new people may be easier later in life when you’re more sure of yourself and what you want. If you’re in a relationship, you and your partner may discover new ways to be together as you get older. Talk to your partner or partners about your needs. You may find that displays of affection, such as hugging, kissing, touching, and spending time together, may be just what you need, or they may be a pathway to greater intimacy and sexual relationships.

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