Living with asthma or COPD should mean having a fun and symptom-free life, including enjoying successful relationships with significant others. If you’re experiencing asthma symptoms during your intimate moments, please remember that asthma is a common condition and there are many good strategies you can follow.
Being breathless during sex shouldn’t be considered a bad thing. But, if you start getting asthma symptoms like wheezing or coughing, it’s normal to feel awkward or embarrassed. As with any big emotions and exercise, also sex can be a trigger for an asthma attack, if your condition isn’t well managed.
Whether you are single or in a relationship, you probably don’t want your health to put any pressure on your love life. Yet, many people with asthma and COPD are struggling with how the condition affects their relationships. In a survey conducted by Asthma UK, 68 per cent of 544 respondents reported that their sex lives had been directly affected by their condition. Especially those with severe asthma reported that sometimes their symptoms made them lose interest in sex altogether.
Here are some tips for not letting asthma get in the way of your love life.
Keeping your symptoms under control…
First, it’s important to make sure that your asthma or COPD is well managed.
Managing your asthma symptoms starts well before you get to the bedroom. That means using your preventer inhaler regularly, taking your other medications as prescribed, and going for regular asthma reviews.
If you find yourself reaching for your rescue inhaler several times a week, it could simply be a sign that you need to update your asthma or COPD treatment plan.
…but letting go in the bedroom
Of course, we all want to appear perfect in front of our partners. Still, it’s essential to talk honestly with your partner about your condition and any fears you might have. Your partner will probably welcome your honesty. Many people have issues related to trust and intimacy, so just starting an open and caring conversation with your partner might help you relax in a way that could make your symptoms disappear.
Once you’ve begun an open conversation with your partner, you might feel comfortable enough to try new approaches with your partner. Find out what works best for both of you, whether it’s about testing different positions or taking it very slow. If you feel that the problem has already been there for too long, it might be a good idea to go to a relationship therapist to share your concerns with a professional and get new tools to improve your situation.
Intimacy goes beyond sex
Aside from physical intimacy, you may sometimes feel emotional constraints related to your condition. A qualitative study on the sexual quality of life for people with severe asthma highlighted some of the successes and struggles they had experienced in their relationships. The study recognised that especially severe asthma might cause feelings of guilt or low self-worth, which are often accompanied by low energy.
At times like this, remind yourself that intimate relationships don’t only happen in the bedroom and all of us have our limitations or difficult days. On those low-energy days, why not suggest to your partner taking a long evening stroll together to watch the sunset or share an impromptu candlelight dinner followed by cuddling on the sofa with a romantic comedy. Then on days when you do feel more energetic, take advantage of them by embracing the moment.
By Laurel Colless
Photo by iStock
Sex and intimacy in people with severe asthma: a qualitative study: study Leanne Jo Holmes, Janelle A Yorke, Caroline Dutton, Stephen J Fowler, Dorothy Ryan https://bmjopenrespres.bmj.com/content/bmjresp/6/1/e000382.full.pdf
Orion invests in research and development of treatment options for people with asthma and COPD while also developing the design and usability of the Easyhaler® inhaler device platform. The focus is on safety and quality in each step of the product life cycle while taking care of the environment. All aspects of sustainability - social, economic and environmental - are carefully considered in the whole product life cycle. Sustainability is entwined in the whole process from R&D through manufacturing, including patient use and the disposal of old inhalers.