MS and sexuality: Common myths

Not everything you hear about sex and MS is true. Here is the truth behind some common myths:

Is MS caused by a sexually transmitted infection?
A publication in 2002 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry stated that MS may be the result of a sexually transmitted infection. However, there is no direct scientific evidence to support this theory. In fact, there are many studies that disprove this statement. The best available research suggests that an increased risk of MS is passed on through a person's genes (family history), and then the condition is "triggered" by another environmental factor (other than a sexually transmitted infection).

Will MS make you infertile?
Fertility relates to a person's ability to have children. Having MS does not reduce a woman's fertility. Some men with MS may have "dry orgasms" where they climax without ejaculating. This can affect fertility but does not make the man infertile, as the semen can often be collected and used for artificial insemination. Many people with MS find that they have sex less, often due to the physical and emotional effects of MS. This has an indirect effect on fertility, because you are less likely to conceive if you have sex less often.

Can having sex make my MS worse?
Having sex will not make your MS worse. In fact, satisfying sex may improve your overall well-being. Depending on the physical effects of MS, certain sexual activities may be safer and more enjoyable than others. Talk to your doctor or sex therapist about which sexual activities would be best for you.

Is it safe for women with MS to take birth control pills?
It is generally safe for women with MS to take birth control pills. A woman's age, whether she smokes, and her risk for breast cancer and blood clots are more important factors in deciding whether birth control pills are safe. All women should discuss the safety of birth control pills with their doctor based on their individual risks and benefits.

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