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coping with sexual side effects of parkinsons disease

Nonmotor symptoms, among them sexual dysfunction, are common and underrecognized in patients with Parkinson disease; they play a major role in the deterioration of quality of life of patients and their partners. Loss of desire and dissatisfaction with their sexual life is encountered in both genders. Hypersexuality (HS), erectile dysfunction and problems with ejaculation are found in male patients, and loss of lubrication and involuntary urination during sex are found in female patients

Tremor, hypomimia, muscle rigidity, bradykinesia, ‘clumsiness’ in fine motor control, dyskinesias, hypersalivation and sweating may interfere with sexual function. Optimal dopaminergic treatment should facilitate sexual encounters of the couple. Appropriate counselling diminishes some of the problems (reluctance to engage in sex, problems with ejaculation, lubrication and urinary incontinence)

Treatment of erectile dysfunction with sildenafil and apomorphine is evidence based. HS or compulsive sexual behaviour are side effects of dopaminergic therapy, particularly by dopaminergic agonists, and should be treated primarily by diminishing their dose. Neurologists should actively investigate sexual dysfunction in their Parkinsonian patients and offer treatment, optimally within a multidisciplinary team, where a dedicated professional would deal with sexual counselling.