Health Library

Heavy Breathing: Asthma and Your Sex Life


Asthma, like many chronic diseases, can impact your sex life. But, there are ways to cope with asthma and lessen its effects.

Does Sex Trigger Asthma?

For many asthma sufferers, exercise and physical activity can jump start an episode of breathing difficulty. The physical requirements of sex might also trigger an episode. For some, emotional excitement is enough to bring on symptoms.

How Do You Gain Control?

Chronic respiratory difficulties, brought about by poorly controlled asthma, can contribute to impaired sexual performance and quality of life. Better asthma control should improve all activity tolerance including sexual functioning.

Working with a doctor, patients can discover which triggers set off an attack and how to avoid these triggers. Preventive treatment, or additional or different medications may be needed to reduce the chance of an attack and quickly stop one if it occurs.

Patients can also learn to measure how well they are breathing through routine use of a peak flow meter. The meter can indicate that an episode is near before the patient becomes aware of physical warning signs to plan preventive treatment.

Are There Other Triggers?

Symptoms of asthma are brought on when the airways react to triggers. A trigger is often an allergen, such as dust or pollen. Exposure to allergens in bedding could worsen the problem. Some experts think that latex condoms may play a role for individuals sensitive to latex. By reducing triggers, people with asthma may enjoy a more satisfying sex life.

Make an Appointment

If you have asthma symptoms during sex, make an appointment to talk to your doctor to learn more about what you could be doing to address it.

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
http://www.aaaai.org

American Thoracic Society
http://www.thoracic.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Allergy Asthma Information Association
http://aaia.ca

The Canadian Lung Association
http://www.lung.ca

References:

National Asthma Education and Prevention Program: Expert panel report III: Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2007. (NIH publication no. 08-4051). Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/asthgdln.htm. Accessed March 4, 2014.

Sex. Asthma Foundation website. Available at: http://www.asthmafoundation.org.au/Sex.aspx. Accessed March 4, 2014.



Last reviewed March 2014 by Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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