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Asthma Health Center

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Asthma Linked to Sexual Problems


Until further research is done, people with asthma should know that there may be a link between their sex lives and the state of their illness.

"The participants in the study were quite ill, since they had recently been treated in the emergency department. The findings may not pertain to patients whose asthma is well controlled. However, the findings may indicate that people with asthma should [make note of] any decline in sexual function and report it to their physician, because it may be an indication of poor health," researcher Jean Ford, MD, tells WebMD. Ford notes that people with other chronic illness also often have sexual problems.

He encourages patients to take the initiative in bringing up the topic, because physicians may be as reluctant to start a conversation about sex as patients are.

The survey responses confirmed what Ford suspected in his practice, he says. "When I see a new patient, I ask, 'What would you like to do that you can't do now because of your asthma?'" says Ford, who is director of the Harlem Lung Center and an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University. "Often the answer would be, 'I would like to have sex without having asthma problems.'"

Vital Information:

  • Results of a new survey show that people with asthma may have problems enjoying sex.
  • Researchers do not yet know whether asthma decreases sexual desire or whether sexual activity induces asthma.
  • One expert advises asthma patients to consult with their doctors if they are having problems with sex, because it may be an indication of poor health.
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