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How can a lung transplant affect my sex life?

Lung transplantation can improve some aspects of your sexual functioning. Chronic fatigue should diminish and make sexual life more enjoyable. Men will typically have fewer problems in gaining and maintaining an erection. A woman may resume her menstrual cycle, and pregnancy is often possible.

After your lung transplant, however, some things may not get better. You may still need blood pressure medicines, and these may affect your sexual functioning. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you are concerned about your blood pressure medicines. Your physician may be able to change your medication to enhance your sexual activity and still control your blood pressure.

Sexuality can also be affected by the medicines that you take to prevent rejection if they cause certain side effects. These might include developing a "moon face," acne, bruising, and/or increased body hair. If a person feels less attractive because of these changes, he or she may feel less interested in sex. Talk with your doctor or nurse about how to diminish the side effects.

It is common for transplant recipients to resume a more normal lifestyle, including sexual activity, as they recover. Sexual function may not have been an important part of your life before the transplant, but it may now be higher on your agenda. It is not unusual to worry about something that was unfamiliar in your recent past but is now taking on new importance. You may also be concerned about the safety of your new lung during intercourse.

Doctors usually recommend waiting four to six weeks after surgery to begin sexual intercourse. This period gives you and your partner time to share your concerns and feelings, and permits the resumption of your sexual relationship in a slow and relaxed manner. If you do not have a steady partner, it is essential to use condoms to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

Women using immunosuppressant medications can develop urinary tract infections with intercourse because they are more prone to infection, and because of the proximity of the vagina, urethra, and anus. To avoid infections, it is important to wash well after bowel movements and to wipe from the front to back. Urinating before and after intercourse and drinking a lot of water can help to prevent urinary tract infections. Contact your doctor's office for proper diagnosis and treatment.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.