Those who have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) face daunting challenges on many fronts, physical and mental. And unfortunately, sexual dysfunction often becomes an issue in the aftermath of brain damage, according to a new study.
The website Health Day did a story Monday on the sexual problems that can accompany TBI, based on a newly published review of research on the brain-damaged.
The study’s author, Jhon Alexander Moreno, a researcher at the University of Montreal, said that sexual problems surface and become most obvious roughly six months following the brain injury, and can get progressively worse if not treated, Health Day reported.
The latest research, published in NeuroRehabilitation: An International Journal, looked at the results of 14 studies that involved nearly 1,500 patients, spouses and their partners. The review found that 50 percent to 60 percent of those with TBI had sexual problems, including issues such as a reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction and the inability to have an orgasm, according to Health Day.
There’s a variety of reasons for this, including problems caused by medications such as antidepressants.
And in a very shocking statistic, the study found that marital separation rates are as high as 78 percent among those who have TBI, Health Day reported.
Obviously, TBI survivors aren’t the only ones affected. When a spouse or partner is suddenly forced into the role of caregiver, it can damper their sexual ardor for their mate, researchers told Health Day.
When someone with TBI is receiving treatment, it likely involves physical rehab, and perhaps a neurologist, psychologist and speech pathologist — not a sex therapist, according to Health Day.
The bottom line is that sexual problems among those with TBI should not remain unaddressed. Brain injury specialists need to encourage patients to talk about the issue, and then find ways to address it.