Medical Conditions and Sex

medical conditions and sex

As we have already said, there is no need to stop having an active sex life as you get older. If you have any long term medical conditions though, there are some things that you should consider.

Cardiac and respiratory conditions

Sex can often be like an aerobic workout if it gets very energetic. If you suffer from cardiac or respiratory conditions, such as angina, you might be more comfortable with a more leisurely style of lovemaking. Try to find a position, which is comfortable.

Arthritis and joint problems

Sex can often be quite painful if you have arthritis or joint problems, but do not let this put you off having sex. Experiment with positions to find ones that do not put pressure on the joints, making the whole experience more comfortable. 

Erectile dysfunction

Some conditions such as diabetes, vascular or prostate disease can often cause erectile
dysfunction. As well as this, many types of medication can cause impotence, such as beta
blockers. So if you do suffer from impotence, do not worry, you are not alone and, as embarrassing as it may seem to speak to your doctor about it, there are many treatments available to help.
Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, is when a man can’t get an erection, or keep an erection for long enough to have satisfying sexual intercourse.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a lot more common than people think, and most men will experience ED at some point in their lives. It can affect men in their 20’s and 30’s and it is estimated that half of men aged between 40 and 70 will experience ED to some degree.

There are many different causes of ED. Some are medical and some are psychological. Medical conditions that affect the blood supply to the penis and so resulting in ED are:
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

Stress, anxiety, relationship problems and even worrying about being able to get an erection can lead to ED and a loss in confidence. These psychological causes tend to be more common in younger men.

Some prescription drugs can also cause ED, along with drinking too much alcohol, recreational drugs such as cannabis and cocaine, and smoking.

If you are having difficulty getting an erection, don’t be embarrassed. Seek medical advice, to find out what may be causing the problem. ED can be treated in the majority of men by tackling the cause of the problem.

Diagnosing and managing medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol may also help.

Erectile Dysfunction Treatments

Specific ED treatments have improved significantly over the years. These include prescribed medicines such as sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis) that temporarily increase the blood supply to the penis resulting in an erection. These medicines are effective in about two thirds of men experiencing ED.

Speak to your partner; if you ignore the problem and simply avoid being intimate or having sex, they may think they have done something wrong or that you are no longer interested in them. If you have any sexual or emotional issues or concerns, try discussing these with your partner too.

You can reduce your risk of ED by thinking about your lifestyle and making changes such as:
  • Watching how much alcohol you drink
  • Giving up smoking
  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Not taking recreational drugs
  • Reducing stress

Making these lifestyle changes will also improve your general health

Don’t be embarrassed and suffer in silence. If you think you are suffering from ED, speak to your Pharmacist or your GP.

Many pharmacies offer an ED service. You can use our pharmacy locator to check if your local Alphega Pharmacy provides this confidential service. You can ask the counter staff if you can speak to the Pharmacist in private, such as in a consultation room.


Hopefully, you understand the importance of practising safer sex and what to look out for if things do go wrong. However, if you still have any questions or are worried about your sexual health, your Pharmacist will be happy to discuss these with you and offer you friendly, confidential, expert advice.


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