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One Pill Makes You Smaller: How Common Medications May Affect Your Sex Life

One Pill Makes You Smaller: How Common Medications May Affect Your Sex Life
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Americans take a lot of prescription medications. But how can they affect your sex life?

  Not Tonight, Dear

1. Lipitor (atorvastatin)

What’s it for?
Lipitor is prescribed to people who have high cholesterol. It helps to lower “bad” cholesterol while keeping “good” cholesterol levels elevated.

Not tonight, dear:
Side effects of Lipitor that may put a damper on bedroom antics include headache, acid stomach, and the dreaded flatulence. Some people also report back pain and flu-like body aches. Nothing says romance like wincing and farting.

Bad for your bits:
Lipitor can, in rare cases, cause painful urinary tract infections (UTIs). Frequent sex often irritates the urinary tract, especially in women, so make sure you pee after sex and drink lots of water to mitigate this effect. Women may also experience fibrocystic breast changes, which make breast tissue thicker and more prone to lumps that usually aren’t cancerous but are scary as hell; enlarged breasts, which might sound like a positive effect but can be painful or just plain inconvenient; and uterine or vaginal bleeding. Men may experience impotence and the terrifyingly named abnormal ejaculation, which really just means it takes longer to get off.


2. Singulair (montelukast sodium)

What’s it for?
Singulair helps to prevent and treat asthma and seasonal allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny noses.

Not tonight, dear:
In clinical trials, over 18% of patients taking Singulair reported feeling dizzy. However, over 18% of patients taking placebos also reported feeling dizzy, so the real culprit there might just be the asthma that the medication is intended to treat. Either way, combine it with other side effects like drowsiness, heart palpitations, and muscle cramps and you get a big thumbs-down to passionate lovemaking. Some patients who take Singulair have also reported experiencing psychiatric problems like aggressive behavior, anxiety, hallucinations, and suicidal thinking and behavior, which can interfere with a whole lot more than your sex life.

(Not) bad for your bits:
No one has reported Singulair doing unpleasant things to the genital or reproductive systems.


3. Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate)

What's it for?
Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat depression and anxiety.

Not tonight, dear:
Many people report that Lexapro causes vomiting, diarrhea, or other unpleasant digestive effects, which might be fun if you're into that. Fatigue and flu-like symptoms can also get in the way of energetic bedroom play.

Bad for your bits:
Like most SSRIs, Lexapro can make it much harder for both men and women to want sex, get turned on, or get off. Sexual side effects are probably more common than the statistics show, since patients are often reluctant to report them to their doctors. Fortunately, these effects almost always disappear once the patient stops taking the medication.


4. Nexium (esomeprazole magnesium)

What's it for?
Nexium is used for short-term treatment of stomach-related illnesses like acid reflux and ulcers.

Not tonight, dear:
As with nearly any drug that affects the digestive system, Nexium can cause nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If you're taking Nexium, though, you're probably already having similar issues. The most commonly reported side effect is headaches. Much less common is aggravation of existing depression or migraines.

Bad for your bits:
Very rarely, Nexium can have unpleasant effects on menstruation or make it stop altogether. A few patients have reported yeast infections (possibly made worse when Nexium is prescribed together with antibiotics to treat ulcers) and other vaginal infections, UTIs, and impotence.


5. Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium)

What's it for?
Synthroid is a synthetic replacement for the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. It's prescribed to people whose thyroids aren't performing up to par.

Not tonight, dear:
It can be hard to get Synthroid dosage right, and several medications and foods increase or impair its effects, so the most common side effects come from overdosage. The ones that might get in the way of sex include headache, pounding heart, trouble breathing, and irritability.

Bad for your bits:
If thyroid overdosage goes unchecked, it can lead to irregular or otherwise problematic menstrual periods and impaired fertility.


6. Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate)

What's it for?
Plavix is an anti-clotting medication that helps to treat arterial disease and prevent strokes and heart attacks.

Not tonight, dear:
Plavix can make you bruise more easily, which might be fun if you're into that, and if you get cut, you might not be able to stop the bleeding, which might be a problem if you're into that. In one big study, 27% of patients on Plavix reported stomach and digestive trouble. Maybe most importantly, you're not likely to be prescribed Plavix unless you've had a heart attack or stroke already, so you probably don't want to overexert yourself. We've all heard those stories.

Bad for your bits:
Plavix's blood-thinning properties can make your menstrual periods very heavy, sometimes to a medically dangerous degree. It can also make you more prone to UTIs,


7. Toprol XL (metoprolol succinate)

What's it for?
Toprol XL is an extended-release medication taken once daily to reduce blood pressure and treat heart problems caused or made worse by hypertension.

Not tonight, dear:
About 10% of patients on Toprol XL report tiredness and dizziness. Less common are depression, insomnia, mental confusion, and short-term memory loss. This is not an excuse for forgetting your partner's name in the middle of sex. Wheezing and trouble breathing have also been reported, so this might not be the best time to take up autoerotic asphyxiation.

Bad for your bits:
A small percentage of patients have reported that Toprol XL causes impotence in men, presumably because erections are mostly a matter of hydraulics.


8. Prevacid (lansoprazole)

What's it for?
Like Nexium, a drug in the same "family," Prevacid is used for short-term treatment of stomach ulcers and acid reflux. It's often given in combination with antibiotics.

Not tonight, dear:
Prevacid occasionally causes abdominal pain and digestive problems, but on that front the disease is probably worse than the cure. It can have erratic effects on the libido, ranging from constant arousal to complete indifference. Less often, patients experience mood changes such as depression, hostility, and agitation, which don't exactly enhance your attractiveness even if you're able to get in the mood. Most weirdly, it can affect your sense of taste, which has more to do with sex than you might think.

Bad for your bits:
Participants in studies of Prevacid have reported a host of unusual but severe effects on the sex organs, including abnormal periods, breast enlargement, pain in the penis and testicles, and vaginal infections.


9. Vytorin (ezetimibe/simvastatin)

What's it for?
Vytorin is a combination of two drugs: ezetimibe, which is prescribed to reduce the amount of cholesterol you absorb from food, and simvastatin, which, like Lipitor, is a statin used to reduce your body's production of "bad" cholesterol while increasing levels of "good" cholesterol.

Not tonight, dear:
In studies of Vytorin, two of the most common reasons that people stopped taking it were back pain and other body aches, sometimes in combination with flu-like symptoms. Even those who enjoy pain might prefer it to happen under more controlled circumstances.

Bad for your bits:
Vytorin doesn't seem to have any major adverse effects on the urogenital or reproductive systems.


10. Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate/salmeterol)

What's it for?
Advair Diskus is an inhaled long-term treatment for asthma and other illnesses involving breathing trouble, like bronchitis and emphysema. It combines two medications: fluticasone propionate, a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation, and salmeterol, a beta agonist that relaxes the muscles in the airway.

Not tonight, dear:
Like many asthma treatments, Advair Diskus can make you very dizzy and prone to respiratory ailments like ear and sinus infections or even pneumonia. Some patients report tooth pain and mouth sores, which is no fun if you like giving head and can mimic off-putting STD symptoms. It can also make your skin flaky and scaly, which might be fun if you're into that.

Bad for your bits:
In studies, up to 4% of Advair Diskus users reported getting yeast infections in their mouths. I'll give that a moment to sink in. These are not only exactly as nasty as they sound but also highly communicable to other sensitive areas, like your partner's nipples and genitals. It's also an immunosuppressant, so if you have, say, herpes or HIV, you should be prepared for your symptoms to abruptly increase.


If you're taking any of these medications and your doctor did warn you about possible sexual side effects, that's awesome. If they seem to have glossed over that part of things, bring this up at your next appointment, or call them if you're worried about anything. If you don't have a doctor you can talk with frankly about how illnesses, disabilities, and medical treatment affect your sex life, it might be time to look for one. Otherwise you end up relying on articles like this one even though they may not apply to your individual situation. Do your own research, talk to your own doctor, and stay safe!

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Comments

Conrad  

I take an MAOI (Nardil) which has pretty much killed my ability to reach orgasm in anything less than an hour (if I'm lucky). It used to bother me. I recently took some DMT, which has changed my perspective on the matter. I am now ok with my "problem" and instead of being frustrated with the situation, we make do with what we have.

04/01/2011
Emma  

=]

10/13/2011

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