Depression is known as a common mental disorder that affects the lives of millions of people every year. Apart from affecting a person’s energy, mood as well as physical health, depression can also negatively affect sex life both in sexual desire and function. Luckily, there are many ways that can help you deal with depression.
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How Depression Can Affect Sexual Health- Symptoms And Types Of Depression
In this article, Healthy Guide will show you how depression can affect sexual health. However, at first, you should know the common symptoms of depression as well as types of depression and their effects on sexual health.
1. Common Symptoms Of Depression
Depression is different from feeling grieving or sad. Depression is a constant feeling that lasts for more than two weeks without relief, while grief and sadness are more variable in intensity and duration. You should remember that personal tragedy can cause depression and that depression and grief can occur at the same time. When this occurs, the grieving may be more severe and long-lasting.
According to a study , some common symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of anxiety, sadness, or guilt for a long period of time
- Decreased sex drive
- Decreased self-esteem
- Having difficulty in waking up or sleeping
- Persistent body pains, headaches or digestive issues
- Having thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- Extreme changes in weight
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2. Depression And Gender
A person without depression can experience some of these symptoms; however, when an individual shows a few symptoms of depression for more than two weeks, he or she may experience depression. Both men and women can have difficulties in enjoying sex due to depression. However, there are a few differences in the ways depression can affect men and women.
- Women: In women, a higher rate of depression is linked with hormonal changes. The risk of depression may increase after childbirth, before and during menstruation, during perimenopause and menopause and when juggling home, work, and family life. Women easily experience negative feelings that can cause them to feel less worthy and less confident, hence changing their overall sex life. Besides as women age, a few physical factors can make sexual activity less enjoyable. For example, changes in the vaginal wall may make sex unpleasant and decreased levels of estrogen may affect natural lubrication.
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- Men: Low self-esteem, anxiety and guilt can lead to erectile dysfunction. This is because men easily lose interest in social activities including sex during depression. Besides, in men, antidepressants can be related to impotence. Also, premature ejaculation and delayed orgasm can occur.
In both women and men, having difficulties in sexual activity can cause feelings of worthlessness as well as other symptoms of depression. Therefore, this can lead to a vicious cycle and even worsen the symptoms of both depression and sexual dysfunction.
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3. Types Of Depression
Chemical imbalances in the brain may be a main cause of depression. This can occur as a result of hormonal issues and genetics. Besides, depression can result from other illnesses. Sexual desire is created in the brain, and your sex organs will rely on these chemicals in the brain to increase libido and change the blood flow required for the sexual performance. When you suffer from depression, it will affect the production of these brain chemicals, hence making sexual activity more difficult. Moreover, this may be worse in those who have problems with their sexual dysfunction.
There are a few different types of depression. They include:
- Persistent depressive disorder: Individuals with this disorder can have lack of sex drive for months, hence negatively affecting their relationships.
- Bipolar depression: According to a research , it can cause loss of interest in a few activities, including sex.
- Psychotic depression: The patient may experience delusions, hallucinations as well as loss of touch with reality. People with this type of depression often show no interest in sexual performance.
- Seasonal affective disorder: An individual with seasonal affective disorder can experience feelings of indifference, fatigue, weight gain, as well as loss of interest in some social interaction. Also, this disorder can have negative effects on sex life as social withdraw can make patients feel distant and reduce levels of intimacy.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: It is characterized by irritability, extreme depression, and body aches a few days before menstruation. Besides, it has other symptoms, including headaches, swollen breasts, bloating, muscles pain, and weight gain. All of these symptoms can make females disinterested in sex.
- Postpartum depression: This type of depression affects females after pregnancy and childbirth. Symptoms of postpartum depression are extreme sadness, anger, withdrawal from social life, and even lack of attachment to the baby. Besides, patients with postpartum depression can negatively affect their sex life. Luckily, it is temporary and can be treated through counseling and antidepressants.
- Situational depression: It is diagnosed when emotional responses are severe and long-lasting. This type of depression can make patients lose interest in sex and relationships.
- Atypical depression: Symptoms of atypical depression are increased sleep, weight gain, social ostracization and feelings of paralysis in limbs. The fear of rejection can affect their sex life, making them uninterested in sex activity.
Now, if you want to know how depression can affect sexual health, you should spend time reading the rest of this article and then consider taking the steps in order to deal with depression symptoms as soon as possible.
4. Antidepressant Medications And Sex
This may sound strange when it comes to learning how depression can affect sexual health, but there is actually a relation between antidepressants and sexual problems. Antidepressants are very effective in treating depression; however, these medications can negatively affect patients’ sexual functioning.
- Selective Serotonin Reputake Inhibitors: Citalopram, fluoxetine and paroxetine can be used to treat depression. They work by preventing serotonin reuptake, and increasing the serotonin levels in the brain. So, they can cause some sexual dysfunction related to sexual arousal, orgasm, and libido. This leads to sexual problems including diminished genital sensation, vaginal dryness, and orgasmic difficulty.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants: They work by changing the chemistry of the brain in order to regulate the mood. Tricyclic antidepressants block the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine. However, these antidepressants can cause unwanted side effects such as orthostatic hypotension, urinary retention, constipation, dry mouth, as well as blurry vision. Besides, males can experience erectile dysfunction.
In order to improve your overall sexual health, you need to take the following steps:
- Take antidepressant dose after having sex.
- Ask a medication for sexual function
- Regularly exercise in order to improve mood and physical health
- Talk to your partner about your levels of depression. Although open communication may not deal with your issue, it can help reduce the feelings of worthlessness and guilt.
- Try to stay away from anxiety. According to a study, being conscious about sexual performance in bed can cause men to lose their erection. Instead, you should focus on your partner’s requirements and help your partner enjoy a more pleasurable sex life.
- If you find that stress and depression are affecting your partner, respecting your partner’s decision of saying no to sex is necessary. You never pressurize your partner to have sex with you just because you want it. Actually, your patience and understanding will surely increase his or her admiration towards you, hence contributing to a happier and more passionate sex life.
- Ask a help from a sexual therapist. You should find a good sexual therapist in your area, and then ask an advice. A good sexual therapist can help you understand the causes of your issues and overcome them more easily.
Depression  can negatively affect sexuality by reducing sexual desire and simultaneously inhibiting the sexual response cycle. Actually, depression is known as a serious mental disease that should not be resolved alone. Luckily, you can deal with depression through medications and therapies.
After reading this interesting article, we hope than you can know how depression can affect sexual health and then know how to deal with it correctly. Actually, depression can be treated, so you do not need to feel worried if you are suffering from depression. If you think that this list is helpful, feel free to share this list with other people around you. Also, if you have any ideas about this topic, you can leave your comments in the comment box below One more thing, if you want to know more about tips and facts related to sexual health, you remember to visit our Sexual Health Category regularly.