Opioid Use: It's Connection to Low T and Erectile Dysfuction
Posted By: Dr. Gary Bellman on November 11, 2016
A large number of people begin their relationships with opiates innocently enough. Unfortunately, taking narcotic medications for an injury or chronic pain condition leaves thousands of people with a severe dependency. For many, an addiction to opiate painkillers transitions to an addiction to heroin. As if battling an addiction isn’t bad enough, opiates can also wreak havoc on many other areas of life, and one of those areas just so happens to be in the bedroom.
Prescription pain medication has seemingly taken up a permanent residence in the media. Whether it’s preventable overdose deaths, violent crimes, or the latest reclassification of hydrocodone, hardly a day goes by without a report of negative effects linked to these opiates. However, sexual dysfunction is one of the lesser talked about effects of narcotic painkillers.
Opiates can – and often do – interfere with an addict’s libido or ability to function properly. A detailed report in Time Magazine revealed how painkillers like Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Methadone can derail the sex lives of both men and women. Among men, the medications can lower both the production and existing levels of testosterone. As for women, these opiates can essentially kill the natural libido.
Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism set out to study how opiates affect the body’s systems as a whole. In the end, they were surprised to find that, out of 73 men and women receiving spinal infusions of an opiate pain medication, 95% of the men and 68% of the women experienced a serious drop in sex drive.
Is This Permanent?
Luckily, the adverse sexual effects of opiates are not permanent. Once an addict enters rehab and begins to work on his or her recovery process, the sex drive gradually begins to return. Only with long-term sobriety can a recovering addict enjoy a happy and healthy sex life.
Men who take a class of drugs called opioids may see their testosterone levels decrease, especially if they take the long-acting variety, according to a recent study.
Opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine, are painkillers and may be short-acting or long-acting. Short-acting opioids release medication quickly and are usually taken every 4 to 6 hours. Long-acting opioids take longer to release medication and are usually taken every 8 to 12 hours.
While past research has shown that opioids can lower men’s testosterone levels, they weren’t sure how time – short-acting vs. long-acting – fit into the picture.
Low testosterone can lead to several problems, including diminished sex drive and mood changes. It can also increase the risk of osteoporosis.ghte
The condition can be treated, however, so men who suspect they have low testosterone should talk to their doctor!
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