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Exercise Eliminates Sexual Side Effects of Antidepressants

Update Date: Dec 10, 2013 04:30 PM EST

Exercise can significantly improve sexual functioning in women taking antidepressants.

Psychologists say the latest findings could have important implications for helping relieve some side effects of antidepressants.

"These findings have important implications for public health, as exercise as a treatment for sexual side effects is accessible, cheap and does not add to burden of care," Tierney Lorenz, an Indiana University post-doctoral research fellow who conducted the study at The University of Texas at Austin with Psychology Professor Cindy Meston, said in a news release.

The latest study involved 52 women who had sexual side effects from antidepressants. Participant engaged in sexual activity with no exercise during the first three weeks of the study.

In the second three weeks of the study, the participants completed either three weeks of exercise immediately before sexual activity, or three weeks of exercise whenever they wanted. All participants engaged in sexual activity and 30 minutes of strength training and cardio exercise three times a week.  

The two groups reversed roles in the third three weeks of the study, and women who exercised regularly were asked to add three extra sessions to their workout routines.

The findings revealed that 30 minutes of exercise just before sexual activity can reduce the effect of antidepressants.

Researchers found that exercise help improve orgasm women in all women. However, women who exercised immediately before sex felt significantly stronger libidos and overall improvements in sexual functioning.

"Considering the wide prevalence of antidepressant sexual side effects and the dearth of treatment options for those experiencing these distressing effects, this is an important step in treating sexual dysfunction among women who are taking antidepressants," Lorenz concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Depression and Anxiety

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