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Though few studies have been dedicated to exploring the issue, the three million Americans who suffer from traumatic brain injuries have discovered that head injuries can lead to serious problems in the bedroom. Many people have heard about how head trauma suffered by soldiers, professional athletes and even victims of serious car accidents can suffer psychological changes after sustaining a head injury. Depression, mood changes and memory trouble are all commonly discussed problems associated with TBI. Until recently, few have discussed the serious impact head injuries can have on the sex lives of those suffering from the condition.

A recent study by Jhon Alexander Moreno, a neuropsychology researcher at the University of Montreal, found that the majority of patients with a traumatic brain injury have experienced sexual difficulties in the months following their initial injury. The study, which appeared in the journal NeuroRehabilitation, found that among the 1,500 patients and spouses interviewed, between 50 and 60 percent of those with TBI suffered sexual dysfunction.

The difficulties suffered by patients with TBI included lack of interest in sex, erective dysfunction, pain during sex, difficulty achieving climax and an inability to remain aroused. Other patients said they suffered from a general decrease in sexual desire and also felt that they lacked sex appeal to their partners.

The research found that the partners of those who have suffered from traumatic brain injury also experienced serious personality changes. The spouses were often left coping with a TBI survivor whose personality had changed immensely, often having to care for the person. This change in the relationship can create a power imbalance, which often impacts sexual desire. More worrying for those with traumatic brain injuries is that the recent study discovered that marital separation rates could be as high as 78 percent among those with serious head injuries.

Experts say that despite the serious nature of sexual dysfunction, little attention from doctors is paid to the issue. They say that attention is focused on other, more mundane aspects of rehabilitation and sexual issues are usually ignored, popping up months down the road and causing trouble in relationships. The study’s author says that because sexual problems are so complicated and intertwined with psychological issues, doctors need to come up with a more holistic approach to rehabilitation that confronts sexual difficulties head-on.

About the Editors: The attorneys at Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton & Favaloro, a personal injury law firm with offices in Virginia (VA), North Carolina (NC) and Massachusetts (MA), are responsible for editing the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.

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