Surgery Helps Improve Sex Life in Lumbar Disc Herniation

Condition can decrease desire, frequency; patients -- particularly men -- see improvements after surgery

FRIDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with lumbar disc herniation may experience impairment to their sex lives, and while surgery can help improve sexual desire and activities, women may take longer than men to resume sexual activities, according to a study published in the March 15 issue of Spine.

Masahiro Kanayama, M.D., and colleagues at Hakodate Central General Hospital in Hokkaido, Japan, conducted a study of 43 male and 21 female patients (mean age, 36 years) who had undergone surgery for lumbar disc herniation. The patients completed a privacy-conscious questionnaire after surgery.

The researchers found that both sexual desire and frequency of sexual activity were adversely affected by lumbar disc herniation, with 50 and 59 percent of respondents reporting decreases, respectively. Discomfort during sex was common, reported by 67 percent of males and 81 percent of females, and satisfaction decreased in 28 percent of males and 41 percent of females. However, surgery improved sexual desire in 85 percent of patients, frequency of sexual activity in 88 percent, and satisfaction in 94 percent, the investigators note. More females than males did not regain sexual desire after surgery (31 versus 7 percent) and still felt discomfort during sexual activity (46 versus 17 percent), and females resumed sexual activities later than males.

"Significantly larger number of female patients required adjustment in sexual position than male patients," the authors write. "Female patients might require counseling and discussion of return to sexual activity, timing of return, and safety of various sexual positions, even though they achieved significant pain relief after surgery."

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