How drugs in your medicine cabinet including contraception and statins could be killing your sex drive

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MEDICINES are meant to make life better, but your drug cabinet could be killing your bedroom mojo. Side-effects from many meds can take their toll on your sex drive or cause impotency.

Sexpert Kate Taylor says: “Don’t despair. There are tricks and tips to stop these essentials blocking your bedtime buzz.” Today, Kate tells NIKKI WATKINS which pills could get in the way of your thrills, and what you can do about it.

Your medications could be having a negative effect on your sex life
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Anti-anxiety meds

Always talk to your doctor before you stop taking anti-anxiety medications
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These and minor tranquillisers including Valium, Ativan and Mogadon are known as “benzodiazepines.” They are usually used to calm anxiety and treat insomnia.

A potential side-effect of these pills is a drop in libido or a disinterest in having sex and, in rare cases, erectile dysfunction.

If you have no interest in sex, try kissing and foreplay — you may find your feelings return once you have started.

Most importantly, open up to your partner about these issues — feeling guilty or embarrassed can make your anxiety worse.

It is dangerous to stop taking anti-anxiety medications suddenly, so always talk to your doctor first.

Anti-acid drugs

Ask your doctor about different types of stomach acid-reducing medication called proton pump inhibitor (PPI)
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Medicines such as cimetidine and ranitidine are used to treat people suffering with ulcers and gastro-oesophageal disorder (GORD) by stopping the stomach over- producing acid.

Some male users have reported erectile dysfunction and the development of manboobs. However, those effects were not recreated in controlled clinical trials.

If you feel you are experiencing erectile dysfunction symptoms they might be improved by taking the medication at a different time of day, but discuss this possibility with your doctor first.

Alternatively, other medications have fewer reported sexual side- effects, so ask your doctor about different types of stomach acid-reducing medication called proton pump inhibitor (PPI).

Contraception

Ask your GP for a chat about switching to an intrauterine device, oral pill or hormone-free methods of contraception
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Contraception including the mini pill, combined pill, injection, implant, contraceptive ring or hormonal intrauterine device are used for preventing pregnancy.  They may also be prescribed to treat acne or manage heavy and painful periods.

Some women report a drop in libido usually within six months of starting their chosen contraception. Sometimes, the contraceptives are linked to mood swings or weight gain which can also stop you feeling in the mood.

Many contraceptive symptoms settle in time, so give your body six months to acclimatise.  Remember you will not get the pre-period surge in lust that women can get naturally, so track your libido over 30 days and see what helps you feel in the mood for sex, naturally.

If you see no improvement, speak to your doctor.  One study found libido-loss appeared higher in users of the injection, implant and ring, so ask your GP for a chat about switching to an Intrauterine device, oral pill or hormone-free methods of contraception.

Antidepressants

A decrease in sexual desire, and the possibility of being unable to reach orgasm can be a side-affect of takking SSRIs
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Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants increase the level of serotonin in the brain, to reduce the symptoms of depression, bulimia, anxiety and some phobias.

A decrease in sexual desire, and the possibility of being unable to reach orgasm, can be a side-affect of this medication. In men, SSRIs can cause erectile dysfunction.

It is important to continue with any of these drugs that your doctor has prescribed, but there are ways to reclaim your sex life.

Scheduling sex can help with a low libido, as desire often builds once you get started.

A powerful vibrator can help encourage a climax, when normal stimulation fails. X-rated films or books might jump-start your libido and exercise has been shown to improve sex drive, too.

If all else fails, ask your doctor about Noradrenaline and Specific Serotonergic Antidepressants (NASSA) which are reported to have fewer sexual side-effects than SSRIs. Do not come off any antidepressant medication before speaking to your GP.

Beta blockers

You might benefit from an erectile medication like Viagra if you are on a beta-blocker
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Antihypertensive medications, such as beta blockers and diuretics, are prescribed to lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Water pills, also known as diuretics, can decrease blood flow to the penis and vagina, making arousal and erections more difficult.

They can also deplete the body of zinc, which is necessary to produce testosterone which contributes to sex drive.

Beta blockers have also been shown to cause erectile dysfunction. There are other types of blood-pressure medications that have been reported to cause less sexual side-effects.

But if you have spoken to your GP and switching is not possible, then you might benefit from an erectile medication like Viagra. You will need to chat with your doctor to ensure it is safe to add this to your existing medications.

Natural cures such as a penis ring, for example the doughnut stretchy ring, £4.99, lovehoney.co.uk, can boost erections.

Statins

There are five different statins prescribed in the UK, so switching to an alternative might help if your partner is suffering from erectile dysfunction
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They are used to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood to prevent heart attacks and strokes. A small 2008 study reported men suffered erectile dysfunction after taking statins.

However, further studies have shown that erectile dysfunction can be improved by statins, as they increase blood flow through all major arteries, including in the penis. So evidence is currently split.


If you are concerned about erectile dysfunction in your partner, suggest ways to maximize testosterone, such as through resistance training, like weight lifting, and eating a healthy diet filled with proteins and vegetables.

Improving lifestyle might also mean your GP can lower your dose.

There are five different statins prescribed in the UK, so switching to an alternative might help, but never stop taking medication without talking to a doctor.

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