Understanding Sexual Health Risks Associated with Aging

As we age, our bodies undergo numerous changes that can have a significant impact on our overall health and well-being. One area that often goes overlooked is sexual health. Despite the taboo surrounding sex and aging, it is essential to have open and honest conversations about the risks that come with aging to understand it. 


1. Hormonal changes: As we age, our bodies undergo hormonal changes that can impact sexual health. Both men and women experience a decrease in hormones that can affect libido, sexual function, and overall sexual health. 


2. Erectile dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction is a common issue that affects many men as they age. It can make it challenging to achieve and maintain an erection, impacting sexual function and quality of life. 


 3. Vaginal dryness: Women may experience vaginal dryness as they age, leading to discomfort or pain during intercourse. 


4. Menopause: Menopause is a natural process that occurs in women as they age. It leads to a decrease in estrogen levels, causing a variety of symptoms that can impact sexual health. 


5. Increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Older adults are less likely to use protection during sexual activity, making them more susceptible to STIs. 


6. Chronic health conditions: Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity can impact sexual function and overall sexual health. 


7. Medications: Medications used to treat chronic health conditions can impact sexual function and libido. 


8. Mental health: Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions can impact sexual function and overall sexual health. 


9. Prostate cancer: The risk of prostate cancer increases as men age. The symptoms can impact sexual function and quality of life. 


While aging can pose challenges to sexual health, there are steps that can be taken to maintain a healthy sex life. Practicing safe sex and getting regular STI screenings can help prevent the spread of STIs. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress management can all help to improve overall sexual function. 


For men experiencing erectile dysfunction, there are a variety of treatments available, including medications and surgical procedures. In women, vaginal lubricants can help alleviate dryness and pain during intercourse. 


It’s essential to talk openly and honestly about sexual health with your partner and healthcare provider. Regular check-ups and discussions about sexual health can help identify potential issues early on and improve overall quality of life. 

Remember, age is just a number, and it’s never too late to take control of your sexual health. So, let’s break the taboo surrounding sex and aging and start having open and honest conversations about it. 

About The Author

Dr. Coco is a highly-educated and well-qualified primary care physician who graduated from the University of the Philippines Baguio with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. She completed her three-year residency training in Family Medicine at Brokenshire Medical Center. She passed her diplomate exams in Family Medicine, given by the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians in 2018. 


Dr. Coco is dedicated to providing comprehensive and holistic care for her patients. She is a primary care physician who believes in delivering continuing comprehensive health care for all. To her, patients are not just a number as she takes time to analyse how she can improve their overall health every chance they can get. 

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