Sexual function after strokes

Handb Clin Neurol. 2015:130:289-95. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63247-0.00016-X.


Strokes are the second leading cause of death and the third leading cause of disability worldwide. Thanks in part to better and more available diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, the vast majority of stroke patients tend to survive strokes, particularly in the industrialized world. Motor disability and cognitive changes such as aphasia and visuospatial disorders are most often considered among the major contributors to stroke burden. This chapter discusses disorders of sexual functions as another frequent sequel of strokes. Strokes generally induce hyposexuality, but in some instances they may be followed by hypersexuality. There is some evidence suggesting that lesions of either hemisphere affect sexual activities, but for different reasons: aphasia and depression after left-hemisphere lesions, a deficit in arousal and perhaps visuospatial disorders after right-hemisphere lesions. Psychologic, psychosocial, and physical factors, as well as medications, play an important role. A better understanding of the psychosocial and physiologic mechanisms underlying sexual functioning can provide insight into improving sexual activity and therefore quality of life in patients affected by strokes and other brain lesions.

Keywords: correlation between coitus and stroke; drugs; hypersexuality; hyposexuality; risk factors; strokes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Stroke / complications*