Aging & Health A to Z
Lifestyle & Management
Diet and Exercise
Keeping fit is one of the best ways to stay healthy in every way, including sexually healthy. Eating well and getting regular vigorous exercise will help keep your energy levels high, your blood flowing, and your body more flexible, responsive, and pain-free. Frequent exercise is also linked to a lower risk of depression, which is a risk factor for sexual problems.
Management and Monitoring
If you are taking medications or receiving treatment for sexual problems, make sure you understand what kind of follow-up you may need. For example, if you are taking testosterone replacement treatment, you will need to have liver function and blood count tests performed regularly. Your prostate should also be monitored regularly. Make sure that your healthcare provider explains what care you need and whether you should look out for any particular side effects. Make note of when your appointments are and visit your healthcare provider when needed. Also make sure to tell your provider if you have noticed any negative reactions, since some may be serious.
It is rare to have complications from treatments for sexual problems. However, make sure you are fully informed, since some side effects can be very serious. For example, if priapism is left untreated it can result in permanent damage to the penis. Treatment with erectile dysfunction pills can cause sudden serious low blood pressure. This is especially the case if the pills are taken while also taking nitrates for heart disease. This can even be fatal. So make sure to report any side effects to your provider as soon as they occur.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Older adults are more likely than ever to get sexually transmitted diseases. This is because adults are living longer and more actively, and the increased rate of divorce increases the number of possible new sexual partners. Sexual activity with non-permanent partners carries a higher risk of an unwanted sexually transmitted disease. If you are sexually active outside of a long-term monogamous relationship, make sure to practice safe sex. Men should use a condom every time for sexual intercourse. Older age does not protect anyone from sexually transmitted diseases. Have a discussion with your healthcare provider about the possibility of becoming infected with HIV, and the risk of passing the disease to someone else even if you don’t have any symptoms.
Updated: October 2017
Posted: May 2012