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Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction Eased by Exercise

Anti-Depressant Induced Sexual Dysfunction Relieved by ExerciseA new study suggests exercise can improve sexual functioning in women who are taking antidepressants.

Psychological researchers discovered moderate intensity exercise at the right time significantly improves sexual functioning in women who are taking the antidepressants.

The study is published online in Depression and Anxiety.

Findings suggest that sexual dysfunction can be effectively treated with an inexpensive, non-invasive prescription of moderately intense workouts.

“These findings have important implications for public health, as exercise as a treatment for sexual side effects is accessible, cheap and does not add to burden of care,” said Tierney Lorenz, Ph.D., an Indiana University postdoctoral research fellow who conducted the study at The University of Texas at Austin with psychology professor Dr. Cindy Meston.

The researchers recruited 52 women who reported sexual side effects from antidepressants.

During the first three weeks of the study, the participants engaged in sexual activity with no exercise.

In the second experiment, the participants completed either three weeks of exercise immediately before sexual activity, or three weeks of exercise not timed to it. They all also engaged in sexual activity and 30 minutes of strength training and cardio exercise three times a week.

The two groups then reversed roles in the last experiment. Women who exercised regularly were asked to add three extra sessions to their workout routines.

The results showed that 30 minutes of exercise just before intercourse can reduce the effect of the libido-dulling drugs.

They were based on the participants’ self-reported assessments of their sexual functioning, satisfaction and psychological health before and after each experiment. They also reported each sexual event in online diaries.

According to the findings, committing to a regular exercise routine improved orgasm function in all women.

However, those who exercised immediately before sex experienced significantly stronger libidos and overall improvements in sexual functioning.

Moderately intense exercise activates the sympathetic nervous system, which facilitates blood flow to the genital region.

Antidepressants have been shown to depress this system. Scheduling regular sexual activity and exercise may be an effective tool for alleviating these adverse side effects, Lorenz said.

“Considering the wide prevalence of antidepressant sexual side effects and the dearth of treatment options for those experiencing these distressing effects, this is an important step in treating sexual dysfunction among women who are taking antidepressants,” she said.

Source:University of Texas – Austin

 

Woman exercising on stationary bicycle photo by shutterstock.

Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction Eased by Exercise

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Antidepressant-Induced Sexual Dysfunction Eased by Exercise. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 10, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2013/12/11/antidepressant-induced-sexual-dysfunction-relieved-by-exercise/63162.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.