MS can affect sexual feelings and functions both directly (primary sexual effects) and indirectly (secondary and tertiary sexual effects). The central nervous system makes sexual arousal possible; the brain, sexual organs, and other parts of the body send messages to each other along nerves that run through the spinal cord. MS-related damage to these nerve fibres can directly impair sexual feelings or sexual responses.
Talk about it. It can be difficult but talking about sexual issues with your partner is crucial to intimate relations when MS changes the body and the mind. Confiding in your partner deepens intimacy and may go a long way toward resolving fears.
Talk to your healthcare team. An easy way to begin the conversation with your doctor is by requesting regular checkups related to sexual health. Many sexual problems associated with MS can be medically managed but the first step is talking to your doctor or MS nurse.
Identifying treatment strategies. There is no single site for sexual response in the human nervous system. The nerves that orchestrate it are spread throughout the brain and spinal cord. This means that there are many pathways where MS lesions might disrupt nerve messages for sexual activities or feelings.
Learn more about intimacy and sexuality in MS.
Key Healthcare Professionals
- Family physician