Redefining Intimacy in People with MS

Intimacy is a very important aspect in any relationship. For people suffering from multiple sclerosis, this can be quite a challenge. The disease itself may affect a number of bodily functions that may also affect a person’s sex life. In fact, in the general US population, there are about 30 to 40 percent of people with MS who have experienced sexual dysfunction at one point or another during the course of their disease.

The sexual dysfunction that people with multiple sclerosis may experience can be differentiated into several types. There is the primary sexual dysfunction that is partly caused by the lesions that may have formed in the spinal cord or brain caused by the development of the disease. There are also the indirect forms of sexual dysfunction that people with MS may experience that is not directly linked to the disease such as experiencing symptoms such as numbness or tingling sensation in the hands and legs that may interfere with enjoying some intimate closeness with a partner.

The other form of sexual dysfunction that people with MS experience would be due to psychosocial concerns. Sometimes, people MS tend to think seriously of how people around perceive them and are sensitive to their image. This can sometimes also affect how their partners perceive them which can have an effect on their intimacy later on. People with MS as well as with some other physical image concerns can find themselves more inhibited and insecure which can have an effect on issues when it comes to intimacy.

Men who suffer from multiple sclerosis may have different concerns when it comes to intimacy than women with MS do. Most men with MS suffer from erectile dysfunction due to the disease which can greatly hamper their sex life. Women with MS on the other hand, sometimes experience vaginal dryness as one of the symptoms of their disease. How these symptoms affect people with MS and how they as well as their partners cope with it would determine the seriousness of the intimacy issues that they may find themselves in.

For people having to live with MS, intimacy issues will certainly come at some point. It is up to the couple on how they see and react to it. For couples willing to continue on and fight it out, there are many ways that their level of intimacy can be improved despite the problems brought about by MS. There are treatments that can be offered to help relieve some of the symptoms of the disease that may affect intimacy in some form.

But most importantly, partners should try to have more flexibility and creativity in terms of handling intimacy issues because of multiple sclerosis. A better sense of understanding of the disease, the situation of the people who have them would help make things easier for couples trying to handle the intimacy challenges brought about by the disease.

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