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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, those with asthma 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.

People with asthma 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 they become 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 & Immunology
http://www.aaaai.org

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
http://www.aafa.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Allergy Asthma Information Association
http://aaia.ca

The Lung Association
https://www.lung.ca

REFERENCES:

Asthma exacerbation in adolescents and adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114076/Asthma-exacerbation-in-adults-and-adolescents. Updated October 16, 2017. Accessed November 10, 2017.

Kaptein AA, van Klink RC, de Kok F, et al. Sexuality in patients with asthma and COPD. Respir Med. 2008;102(2):198-204.

Sex and relationships. Asthma UK website. Available at: https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/living-with-asthma/sex-and-relationships. Updated October 2016. Accessed November 10, 2017.

Last reviewed November 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP  Last Updated: 12/23/2015