El impacto de la discapacidad en la vida sexual de los individuos con enfermedades neurológicas

Individuals with acquired neurological diseases (such as stroke, head trauma, spinal cord injury, etc.) suddenly see their lives limited by alterations and functional, motor, sensory, and cognitive problems, among others. In addition to these limitations that on their own lead to a disability, there are other affected areas such as family, work, social life and even sexuality.
The motor, sensory, emotional and cognitive disability of patients with neurological disorders interrupts the sexual life of those affected and their respective partners and spouses.
The therapists of the rehabilitation team of the Neurorehabilitation Clinic of Sant Cugat del Vallés (Barcelona) recommend that patients overcome the tabu, shyness, shame and talk about this issue with a doctor, neurologist, psychologist, physiotherapist and even social worker. Different professionals can help in the search of strategies and therapeutic options (pharmacological and non-pharmacological) to face problems related to sexual life (erection, ejaculation, fertility, orgasm, reproduction, etc.).
Neurological patients, whether due to brain or spinal cord disease, may experience different symptoms or alterations that affect sexual activity. For example, the sensitive alteration can affect aspects related to the excitement or pleasure sensation, the motor alteration can affect the aspects related to the erection or ejaculation and even emotional alterations can influence the sexual libido and behavior.
Communication can also be a limiting factor to address the issue. Patients with aphasia (comprehension, expression, mixed, others) may have difficulty expressing their concern about the sexual issue, either with rehabilitation professionals, or at home with their partners. In a similar way it happens at an emotional level. Patients usually see their life changed completely, their body is not the same, they feel useless, unwanted, insecure of their family role and their position as a couple. Thus, we must assume that any type of disability can lead to an interruption and limitation in your sex life.
Nowadays you can find several therapeutic strategies apart from the help and impulse that is received by the professionals (psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist). Some of the best known options are sensory and sensory stimulation, neuroprosthetic implantation, sensitive substitution therapy, transcranial electrostimulation, vibro-stimulation among others.
There are strategies for men and women equalizing the importance of sexual life in both genders, at different ages and for people and couples with different needs.
With this, in the Neurorehabilitation Clinic, we do not forget that a patient is a person with needs and demands in different areas. One of the objectives as a therapeutic team is to help the individual and his family achieve a better quality of life.