How Orthopedic Injuries Can Affect Sexual Health

TW // PTSD and depression. If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, please call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (800) 273-8255

An orthopedic injury is an injury that occurs to the musculoskeletal system, and more commonly occurs to the bones or joints within the body. While orthopedic injuries can affect our lives in many ways, they can greatly impact our sexual health. According to the CDC, sexual health is defined by a person’s mental, physical, social, and emotional health regarding sexuality. While it may seem intuitive that a physical injury can have an effect on our sexual well-being, looking at how orthopedic injuries can affect our mental, emotional, and social health can give us better insight on why these types of injuries can have such a large impact on sexual wellness.

Mental and Emotional Health Effects from Physical Injuries

Orthopedic injuries can be traumatic to both our bodies and our psyche, and according to Dignity Health, traumatic injuries can result in post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. These conditions can have a serious impact on our lives, and our relationships with others.

PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that is caused by a traumatic life-threatening event, and can cause symptoms such as anxiety, nightmares, and flashbacks to the event. Therefore, almost any severe event that can cause an orthopedic injury can also cause PTSD, and thus greatly affect one’s life- especially their sexual health. According to Hims, 10-20% of people with erectile dysfunction have psychological causes of their dysfunction. Since sexual arousal and PTSD both induce a fight or flight response, which can involuntarily trigger a person with PTSD, it can effect their sexual health negatively. More information on this and the associated studies can be found on the Hims website.  Equally as important, PTSD has an large effect on women’s health as, “Individuals with PTSD are three times more likely to suffer from asexual dysfunction,” and 90% of women who have PTSD reported a reduced sex drive.

Depression

Depression is defined as a medical illness that can affect how you act, think and feel, and can affect people of all ages. Its symptoms often include loss of interest, appetite changes, loss of energy, difficulty concentrating, issues with sleeping, and feelings of intense sadness. These symptoms can effect your physical and mental health, and can therefore effect your sexual health- because let’s face it, if you’re experiencing these symptoms, your sexual well-being may not feel like a top priority. Not only are these very serious symptoms, but according to Healthline, 1 in 20 people that are over 12 years old experience depression, which is a large range of people.

Physical Issues

While there can be a large amount of mental effects between an injury and sexual health, there are many physical issues as well. Orthopedic injuries can occur to any part of your musculoskeletal system, and can have long lasting effects if not treated properly. One example includes spinal cord injuries, which can be life altering, and even with proper treatment, can impact a person’s quality of life drastically. In a study done on the impact of spinal cord injuries and sexuality, it was seen that, “In the immediate post-injury period, both men and women lose ability to have reflexive sexual responses,” which directly affects one’s sexual well-being. Additionally, the longevity of these lacks of sexual responses will depend on the severity of the spinal injury- which can be true of other orthopedic injuries and how they can impact our lives. Receiving the proper care in a time-conscious manner can make a difference in these situations, and can hopefully return you back to your pre-injury activities sooner.

How Healthpointe Can Help

Here at Healthpointe, we know how important it is for our patients to lead normal lives after an orthopedic incident. We also recognize that a person may need more than just orthopedic care to do so. Luckily, we have a vast amount of specialists to help you get there. Our Orthopedic Care department can treat a large amount of injuries, including conditions that affect the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, spine, hips, knees, and feet – all of which cover the right treatment plan for your needs.

Equally as important is the mental aftercare that is required to heal from any traumatic event, which we can also help you with. Our Psychology department can provide treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy, biofeedback therapy, psychotherapy, and cognitive rehabilitation therapy- to help you get back to a healthy emotional state, and hopefully back to leading your regular life.

Sexual health can require physical, mental, and emotional wellness in order to thrive. Therefore, looking into how sexual health is effected by orthopedic injuries (both physically and mentally) can give you a larger insight into its effects. If you are experiencing physical, emotional, or psychological distress after an incident, contact our offices today, so that we can help find the right treatment for you.

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