Sexuality and Elderly with Chronic Diseases: A Review of the Existing Literature
Background: Increased life expectancy and the growing phenomenon of aging can lead to increased burden of Chronic Diseases (CDs) which adversely affects the overall health of elderly, their sexuality in particular. Sexual life of aged population is overlooked in many of the societies. In the present narrative review, we aim to assess the impact of CDs on sexual function of elderly people. Materials and Methods: We used internet databases including Pub Med, Embase, ISI Web of Science, Google Scholar, SID, Iran Medex, Magiran, IPPF, and UNFPA without time limit. Ninety eight out of 174 relevant articles were selected which met the inclusion criteria: those articles were research-based in English or Persian (original or review articles), and text books; specified one or more chronic diseases and sexual function of the subjects; elderly people over the age of 60, men and women; coordination between articles and research goals. We excluded qualitative and case studies. We reported the most related CDs with sexual function in literature review and used the biological and psychological impact of the CDs on sexual function of aged population based on the conceptual model of Verschuren et al (2010). Results: The results of the studies were classified into the themes including physical, psychological, and cultural and social. Diabetes, cardiovascular, cancerous and chronic respiratory diseases and also some medications can reduce sexual capacity and desire in particular resulting in negative impact on the quality of elderly sexual life. CDs may influence sexual expressions and responses which adversely affect one’s mood and energy so that can cause depression and grief as well as loss of self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-concept in aged adults. The factors affecting sexuality of an elderly with CDs include cultural and mythical beliefs about age and illnesses, fear, and embarrass of changed physical appearance. The research conducted among elderly population examining the adverse influence of CD’s on aged people’s sexual life in general, sexual function and performance, and intimate interaction. Conclusion: It is considered that programs on sexual health needs of aged population for the health care workers can prove beneficial in improving sexual health.
Key words: Ageing, Chronic Diseases, Sexuality, Review
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