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When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast: Let’s talk about sex and Parkinson’s

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast: Let’s talk about sex and Parkinson’s
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In June, I will be travelling to Kyoto, Japan for the fifth World Parkinson Congress (WPC) . WPC is a global Parkinson’s event that opens its doors to all members of the Parkinson’s community, from neurologists and researchers to those living with the disease. Since my diagnosis in August 2017, I’ve launched the podcast . As an extension of that podcast, I have teamed up with the World Parkinson Coalition to help preview WPC 2019. 

In this episode of , I speak with Gila Bronner, founder and former director of the Sex Therapy Service at Sheba Medical Center in Israel. She is also a sex therapist at the Movement Disorders Institute of the medical centre. She tells me neurologists, nurses and other health professionals, in general, are not taught about sexual issues patients may have, where to refer them when issues arise, or how to talk to patients about it.

Every time I go to the neurologist, I fill out a form asking about different symptoms. Buried in the batch of queries is a question that looks something like this.

As it relates to sexual desire, in the past six months…

Bronner has proven there is an association between Parkinson’s and sexuality. In her research, Bronner discovered nearly three of every four people she studied with Parkinson’s had some sort of sexual problem. Aging and challenges from Parkinson’s both contribute to the issues, but people with Parkinson’s were still 30 to 50 per cent more likely to have problems compared to people of the same age who did not have PD. Parkinson’s affects desire, arousal and the ability to orgasm. Bronner finds the issues are often significant enough that couples stop being intimate altogether.

In Kyoto and in this episode of the podcast, she outlines the various sexual problems associated with Parkinson’s disease, various treatments, communication issues, and how to keep intimacy with your partner.

Each episode of the WPC2019 Podcast, I’m going to check in with James Heron, the executive director of the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre, to teach us a new word or phrase and help us better understand the culture so we can avoid embarrassing ourselves or offending our hosts.
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