- Question from LaLa: In the trial and error of trying anti-depressants, how long is long enough to try one before deciding to switch?
- Answers - Debra Thaler-DeMers The answer to this question depends on the individual, which anti-depressant is being tried, and the reasons the anti-depressant is being used—whether it's strictly for depression, to increase libido, or to deal with hot flashes. Some anti-depressants take 2-3 weeks to build up a blood level that will give you relief of your symptoms. Using your own physician to help you make a decision, I would suggest that you give the medication at least 2-3 weeks and perhaps longer.
- Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D. Two to three weeks are a minimum. Sometimes the sexual side effects may be better after the first month or two of taking the medication.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. In my experience in helping women manage the loss of libido, we might even try a few things at the same time: for example, an anti-depressant, a lot more lubrication, sexy music, a few candles, and leopard underwear.
- Debra Thaler-DeMers Some cancer survivors find that it is helpful to watch suggestive videos, read erotic literature, either alone or with their partner, or to peruse sex books, such as The Joy of Sex or The Kama Sutra. Videos and books, as well as sex toys, are available from web sites such as www.babeland.com, and www.goodvibes.com in California. These things are usually shipped in plain wrappers so your mailman and neighbors need not know what's coming to your home.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. Make sure that you write your address very clearly on the order form so that there is almost no chance of a mis-delivery.
- Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D. The main thing is to have something erotic in your mind during love-making, whether it's a good memory, a fantasy or something you just saw in a movie.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Intimacy, Sex and Your Love Life featured Leslie R. Schover, Ph.D., Debra Thaler-DeMers, R.N., O.C.N., P.H.N., and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about how to improve your sex life during and after breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in February 2002.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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