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Sexual health

Sexuality is a fundamental part of humanity at any age. There are many changes that can affect sexual function and pleasure for older adults. Menopause and impotence are common health conditions that can affect sexual health. Check out our resources for tips on how to maintain your sexual capacity.

Erectile dysfunction treatment options
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Vaginal estrogen relieves common menopause symptoms
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  • Web Resource Rating

    Screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea: Consumer fact sheet

    U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
    Sexually active women over 24 years old who do not use condoms or have more than one sexual partner should get screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Evidence Summary

    Social-capital interventions appear to help improve health outcomes in older individuals

    Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (2016)
  • Web Resource Rating

    Uterine (endometrial) cancer

    Patient.co.uk
    Uterine cancer is most likely to occur in women in their 50s and 60s. If uterine cancer is found at an early stage, there is a good chance of a cure. Talk to your doctor if you experience vaginal bleeding past menopause, bleeding between periods, or bleeding after sex.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Vaginal dryness

    UpToDate - patient information
    Vaginal dryness can affect any woman but it is most common after menopause. Symptoms may include burning, itching, pain during sex and abnormal vaginal discharge. Treatments include vaginal moisturizers, vaginal lubricants and vaginal estrogen. Speak with your doctor to learn more about which treatment might be right for you.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Performance anxiety and "water tablets" for high blood pressure

    Evidently Cochrane
    Your doctor may prescribe medication to lower high blood pressure. Some blood pressure medications may increase the risk of erectile dysfunction but there is not enough evidence to know whether this is true and which medications should be recommended to avoid erectile problems.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Testosterone therapy: Potential benefits and risks as you age

    Mayo Clinic
    Testosterone levels will naturally decline with age. Talk to your doctor if you have a medical condition that affects testosterone. Testosterone therapy has risks and is not recommended as a treatment for normal aging.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Fertility Problems: Should I Have a Tubal Procedure or In Vitro Fertilization?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps women who have a fallopian tube problem that have been unable to get pregnant decide on whether to have a tubal procedure or in vitro fertilization (IVF) by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Fertility Problems: Should I Have a Tubal Procedure or In Vitro Fertilization?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps women who have a fallopian tube problem that have been unable to get pregnant decide on whether to have a tubal procedure or in vitro fertilization (IVF) by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Erection Problems: Should I Try Injection Treatments?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps men with erectile dysfunction who cannot take pills decide on whether or not to try injection treatments by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options. It also includes alternative options such as counseling, sex therapy, or seeking other ways to express intimacy.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Erection Problems: Should I Try Injection Treatments?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps men with erectile dysfunction who cannot take pills decide on whether or not to try injection treatments by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options. It also includes alternative options such as counseling, sex therapy, or seeking other ways to express intimacy.
  • Web Resource Rating

    HPV: Should I Get the Vaccine?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people under 26 who have not had the vaccine decide on whether or not to get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    HPV: Should I Get the Vaccine?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people under 26 who have not had the vaccine decide on whether or not to get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Sexual health and aging: Keep the passion alive

    Mayo Clinic
    Sexual feelings don't disappear as you age. Illness, medications and health conditions can affect your sexual life. Talk with your partner and remember that people of all ages should practice safe sex.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Making sense of the menopause: Experience, evidence and you

    Evidently Cochrane
    Access to support and reliable information about menopause can help women prepare for this time in their lives. This resource provides links to interviews and blogs in which women share their personal experiences.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Male menopause: Myth or reality?

    Mayo Clinic
    Low testosterone causes changes in sex and sleep patterns. A healthy diet and exercise can help maintain your strength and energy. Speak to your doctor if you have concerns and be wary of herbal supplements.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Male condoms

    Our Bodies, Ourselves
    Condoms protect against sexually transmitted infections. Carry condoms with you and use them correctly. This resource includes frequently asked questions about using condoms.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Rx for change: The low-down on low-t (or menopause for men)

    National Women’s Health Network
    Be skeptical about testosterone products for men with 'Low-T' (low testosterone or late-onset hypogonadism). Testosterone levels fluctuate and commonly decrease as men age. Low testosterone is normal among older men and 'Low-T' products can increase the risk of heart problems.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Penis health: Identify and prevent problems

    Mayo Clinic
    Problems of the penis include issues with erections, with the foreskin, discharge or blood from the penis, pain, rash or swelling and can be a sign of other health conditions or medication side-effects. Practice good hygiene, safe sex and stay active to maintain your penis health.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Testosterone therapy: Potential benefits and risks as you age

    Mayo Clinic
    Testosterone therapy can increase risk of sleep problems, blood clots, enlarged breasts and more. Talk to your doctor about the risk and benefits if considering this type of hormone therapy.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Risk reduction strategies for vaginal cancer

    Canadian Cancer Society
    Get the HPV vaccine, limit your sexual partners and use a condom to lower your risk of vaginal cancer. Have regular pap tests and avoid smoking. This resource includes questions to ask your doctor about vaginal cancer.
  • Web Resource Rating

    STI Testing: Should I Get Tested For a Sexually Transmitted Infection?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to get tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    STI Testing: Should I Get Tested For a Sexually Transmitted Infection?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people decide on whether or not to get tested for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Evidence Summary

    There is a need for gender-sensitive health- and social-care services for aging individuals

    Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services (2012)
  • Web Resource Rating

    Infertility: Should I Have Treatment?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps couples decide on whether or not to try infertility treatment by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Infertility: Should I Have Treatment?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps couples decide on whether or not to try infertility treatment by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Fertility Problems: Should I Be Tested?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people with fertility problems decide on whether or not to have tests to find the cause of infertility by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Erection problems: Should I take medicine?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps men with erection problems decide on whether or not to take medicine by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Fertility Problems: Should I Be Tested?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps people with fertility problems decide on whether or not to have tests to find the cause of infertility by comparing the benefits, risks and side effects of both options.
  • Patient Decision Aid

    Erection problems: Should I take medicine?

    OHRI
    This patient decision aid helps men with erection problems decide on whether or not to take medicine by comparing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both options.
  • Web Resource Rating

    No sex please, we're menopausal!

    Evidently Cochrane
    Hormone change after menopause can affect your sex life. Details in this resource about common issues and treatments. Hormone replacement therapy may help, but it has risks and benefits. Talk about sexual issues with your doctor and partner.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Sexuality and physical changes with aging: Common physical changes in men

    Health Link B.C.
    Lower testosterone as you age may affect your energy, strength, and sexual function, but having sex is usually possible throughout your life. It may take longer to get an erection.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Will I need additional medication?

    American Heart Association
    For HIV and heart health, ask your healthcare provider about goals for cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Diet, exercise, life style changes and medications can help.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Sexuality and physical changes with aging: Common physical changes in women

    Health Link B.C.
    Physical changes due to aging can affect women's sex life, including shorter orgasms, irritation during sex and taking longer to become sexually aroused. You can find ways to enjoy sex despite these changes.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Sexuality and physical changes with aging: Staying sexual

    Health Link B.C.
    There are many ways to continue to enjoy sex as you age. This resource includes suggestions to help you adapt your sex life to physical changes or health conditions. Talk to your doctor about other tips to maintain your sexual capacity.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Sexuality and physical changes with aging: Sexually transmitted infections

    Health Link B.C.
    Due to physical changes in the body as you age, older adults that are exposed to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) are more likely than younger adults to become infected. Practice safe sex to avoid an STI.
  • Web Resource Rating

    Human papillomavirus (HPV)

    Public Health Agency of Canada (aging & seniors)
    Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually-transmitted infections. Most people with an HPV infection do not have symptoms, but some types of HPV can lead to serious problems like cervical, penile or anal cancer. Lower your risk of HPV: practice safe sex and consider the HPV vaccine.
  • Blog Post

    Beyond taboos: The sexual life of older adults

    While certain health conditions can affect libido and sexual capacity, many people still want and need intimacy, or have sexual desires, as they grow older. However, there seem to be taboos and preconceived ideas about the sexuality of older adults.
  • Blog Post

    Are we equal in the face of aging? Challenges faced by LGBTQ2 older adults

    Although attitudes are changing and there is a growing recognition of the need to adapt the care provided to them, LGBTQ2 older adults (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans, queers and two-spirited) still face negative experiences, including problems related to access to health and social services.
  • Blog Post

    Vaginal estrogen relieves common menopause symptoms

    Menopause may be a natural and inevitable phase in a woman’s life but it often comes with uncomfortable and irritating symptoms. Vaginal estrogen is an effective treatment option.
  • Blog Post

    Erectile dysfunction treatment options

    Erectile dysfunction may be an awkward topic of discussion for some, but it’s a very common condition that affects up to half of all men over the age of 40. Find out what the research says about erectile dysfunction treatment options.

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