Are Your Medicines Wrecking Your Sex Life?

The Naked Truth: Your everyday medicines can ruin your sex life

Updated
Alt Remedies
4 min read
Not in the mood lately? The culprit could be in your medicine rack (Photo: iStock)

Don’t feel like having sex too often?

Over 50% of Indian men above the age of 40 suffer from impotence - there are no such figures for Indian women, but experts say, the number is as high.

It’s jarring when your sex life takes a dip and the reason might not always be the obvious: stress, work exhaustion, late nights or a fight with your partner. There might be lesser-known villains sneaking in your medicine box, which are responsible for packing off your libido on a vacay.

The naked truth is; from combiflams to birth control pills, anti-depressants, cold syrups, to the latest chemotherapy regimen, all have the ability to hamper your performance and sexual arousal.

1. Statins And Fibrates

Are you fully aware of the sexual side-effects of the drug that protects your heart? (Photo: iStock, altered by The Quint)
Are you fully aware of the sexual side-effects of the drug that protects your heart? (Photo: iStock, altered by The Quint)

Used to treat high cholesterol. Millions of Indians take these (supposedly) safe medicines to keep heart issues in check but lesser known side-effects include sexual dysfunction for men and difficulty in achieving orgasm for both men and women.

A review of three decades of research published in the British Medical Journal in 2012, concluded that statins interfere with the ability to produce testosterone, oestrogen and other sex hormones, lead to vaginal dryness and decrease the blood flow to the penis, thereby decreasing the chances of an orgasm.

What should you do? Ask the doctor if you really really need statins or can an overhaul of diet and lifestyle do the trick?

2. Anti-Depressants

Used to treat depression, a host of anxiety disorders, smoking cessation or even severe menstrual cramps.

When your happiness and your orgasms are pitted against each other, it’s pretty much a lose-lose situation (Photo: Instagram/<a href="http://myneighborstudioghibli.tumblr.com/post/36145544992/when-nobody-messages-me">@myneighborstudioghibli</a>)
When your happiness and your orgasms are pitted against each other, it’s pretty much a lose-lose situation (Photo: Instagram/@myneighborstudioghibli)

There are many kinds of anti-depressants, and some are widely known to induce ejaculation failure, impotence and a lowered libido. This group includes meds like Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, and others. Most of these side-effects are listed on the fine print of the label.

So if you’ve taken these pills and experienced sex issues, you’re definitely not alone.

Don’t lose heart, there are also other types of antidepressants, like Wellbutrin or SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), that don’t come with sexual side-effects, but these might not be the right fit for everyone. So sit down and talk it out with your doctor.

3. Blood Pressure Drugs

Beta-blockers are commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure and other heart problems. They were the fifth most widely used medication in India, in 2009, according to consumer reports. These drugs can dampen your libido and quash your sex life.

Even eye drops which contain beta-blockers like, Timolol (used to treat glaucoma) can have the same heightened negative side-effects on your body.

4. Drugs To Treat Male Pattern Baldness

While baldness can be a bane for life, the drugs to treat it are widely linked to ED. So what’s it going to be guys, fashion or passion? (Photo: Instagram/@GifLoop)
While baldness can be a bane for life, the drugs to treat it are widely linked to ED. So what’s it going to be guys, fashion or passion? (Photo: Instagram/@GifLoop)

A 2011 study found that the hair-growth drug can cause low sex drive and erectile dysfunction in men.

5. Cough Syrups

 For some of us, cough syrups are a small price to pay for comfort from eternal coughing, <i>thank you very much</i>! But if it becomes a serious problem, switch meds or use more lubricant (Photo: Instagram/@Julep)
For some of us, cough syrups are a small price to pay for comfort from eternal coughing, thank you very much! But if it becomes a serious problem, switch meds or use more lubricant (Photo: Instagram/@Julep)

Common cough syrups like Benadryl, can dry out the vagina as well as your sinuses. If you’re not moist, sex can be uncomfortable. And why would anyone want to have sex if it’s uncomfortable?

6. The Pill

Most hormonal birth control methods work by releasing hormones that stop ovulation. So when you’re on the pill, you’re not actually ovulating each month (therefore no babies!). But the ovaries are also not producing small amounts of testosterone which improves the sex drive.

Pregnancy protection with a side of low libido? Thanks, but no thanks! (Photo: iStock)
Pregnancy protection with a side of low libido? Thanks, but no thanks! (Photo: iStock)

According to a study published in the October edition of European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, 20% of women report a dip in libido while being on the pill. Unfortunately, it is not clear whether it is actually the pill or the ton of other factors which zap women off their sex drive.

The study also finds that the contraception pill makes it harder for some women to get wet. So if you feel pregnancy protection is giving you a low libido, consider switching to a different type of a pill which suits your body. Also discuss with your doctor on the possibility of the copper IUD which is hormone-free.

Related Read: Is It Time for Women to Question the Birth Control Pill?

Bottom line: These drugs can be great for your overall health but cr***y for your sexual health. It sucks, but keep an open, honest dialogue with your doctor. You might hesitate talking about your boner issues but if you want a fix, they might work around it. And trust me, doctors have seen and heard it all.

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