Michaela from the MS community: How does MS affect sexual response?
Professor Carolyn Young, Neurologist: So there’s been much more study of that in recent years, and probably there’s three grades of ways it’s affected. You could consider primary effects, and that’s things like lower sexual drive, loss of vaginal lubrication, for men erectile problems.
And then you can consider secondary problems like leg spasticity or bladder problems or extreme fatigue, all of which obviously affect the sexual response.
And finally, you can consider tertiary problems, which is being anxious, being low, losing your confidence, not thinking you’re as attractive as you were before, not being as confident in how your partner might be feeling about you and how you can respond to him. So it’s quite complicated and it’s stratified, but we’re trying to understand it better and we’ve done quite a lot of recent research on that.
Michaela: And does that show that it gets worse as MS progresses?
Professor Carolyn Young: Well, certainly some of the physical things can, but equally some of those things can be treated in their own right.
So it’s well worth people trying to get past their shyness and discuss it with their MS neurologist or their GP or their nurse about, you know, if there’s leg problems getting into a good position, or difficulties with the bladder that they can’t relax to let go and so on. Discuss that with somebody who might be able to give you some help on that.