When depression strikes, antidepressant medications are commonly offered to improve a person’s mood. But for many, that might come at the expense of worsening that person’s libido.
Now a new study reveals that exercise might might be a solution. Women taking antidepressants, especially if their workouts occur right before sex, boosted libido.
The researchers evaluated 52 women taking antidepressants who were experiencing either a lowered libido or other sexual side effects.
The women did not exercise during the first three weeks of the study. During the next three weeks the women were divided into two groups: half exercised immediately before sex and the other half exercised with no relationship to time of sex. At the end of the three weeks, the two group’s directions for when to exercise was reversed and they were observed for another three weeks.
All the women benefited from performing regular exercise by achieving an improved orgasm. However, exercising for 30 minutes immediately before sex significantly improved libido and overall sexual function.
The study was performed at the University of Texas and released online prior to appearing in the journal Depression and Anxiety.
The researchers speculate that moderate exercise improves blood flow to the genital region by activating the sympathetic nervous system. Antidepressants depress the sympathetic nervous system, the researchers said.
This is great news for women dealing with depression who must take antidepressant medication. Exercising regularly might overcome one of the most upsetting side affects of taking the medication. And that would provide a strong incentive to continue taking the medication because sexual side effects are a major complaint of women taking these types of medications.
SOURCE: University of Texas at Austin, news release, Dec. 10, 2013
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