Skip to content

50+: Live Better, Longer

Select An Article

Sex and Aging

(continued)
Font Size

What About Surgery and Drugs?

Surgery. Many of us worry about having any kind of surgery-it is especially troubling when the genital area is involved. Happily, most people do return to the kind of sex life they enjoyed before having surgery.

Hysterectomy is surgery to remove the uterus. It does not interfere with sexual functioning. If a hysterectomy seems to take away from a woman's ability to enjoy sex, a counselor may be helpful. Men who feel their partners are "less feminine" after a hysterectomy may also be helped by counseling.

Mastectomy is surgery to remove all or part of a woman's breast. Your body is as capable of sexual response as ever, but you may lose your sexual desire or sense of being desired. Sometimes it is useful to talk with other women who have had this surgery. Programs like the American Cancer Society's (ACS) "Reach to Recovery" can be helpful for both women and men. Rebuilding of the breast (reconstruction) is also a possibility to discuss with your surgeon.

About 1500 American men develop breast cancer each year. In them the disease can make their bodies make extra "female" hormones. These can greatly lower their sex drive.

Prostatectomy is surgery that removes all or part of a man's prostate. Sometimes this procedure is done because of an enlarged prostate. It may cause urinary incontinence or impotence. If removal of the prostate gland (radical prostatectomy) is needed, doctors can often save the nerves going to the penis. An erection may still be possible. Talk to your doctor before surgery to make sure you will be able to lead a fully satisfying sex life.

Medications. Some drugs can cause sexual problems. These include some blood pressure medicines, antihistamines, antidepressants, tranquilizers, appetite suppressants, diabetes drugs, and some ulcer drugs like ranitidine. Some can lead to impotence or make it hard for men to ejaculate. Some drugs can reduce a woman's sexual desire. Check with your doctor. She or he can often prescribe a different drug without this side effect.

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

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

blueberries
Eating for a longer, healthier life.
romantic couple
Dr. Ruth’s bedroom tips for long-term couples.
 
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
 
fast healthy snack ideas
Article
how healthy is your mouth
Tool
 
dog on couch
Tool
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
champagne toast
Slideshow
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Quiz
 
Man feeding woman
Slideshow
two senior women laughing
Article