Sexuality silenced: Doctors failing in key area for stroke patients

Couples struggle to communicate after stroke, increasing risk of anxiety and depression

Stroke survivors are desperate to hang on to their sexuality but don’t get the support they need to do so, according to Australian researchers.

Health professionals rarely address sexuality during rehabilitation, leaving survivors and their partners struggling to adjust on their own, their systemic review of more than 40 qualitative studies found.

“For many, this means that sexuality is lost, potentially leading to an increased incidence of anxiety and depression and poorer quality of life outcomes,” the researchers write in Clinical Rehabilitation.

Data from nearly 650 patients and more than 260 partners found couples struggle to communicate about sexuality after stroke. 

In addition to intimacy, the couples had to deal with a change in traditional roles in the relationship, with some stroke survivors feeling diminished as a result.

For those who were single, the stroke