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Heavy Breathing: Asthma and Your Sex Life

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Does Sex Trigger Asthma? | How Do You Gain Control? | Are There Other Triggers? | Make an Appointment

Asthma, like many chronic diseases, can adversely affect your sex life. But, there are ways to cope with asthma and lessen its effects.

Does Sex Trigger Asthma?

For many asthma sufferers, exercise and physical activity can jump start an episode of breathing difficulty. The physical requirements of sex might also provoke an episode. For some, emotional excitement is enough to bring on or exacerbate the condition.

How Do You Gain Control?

Chronic respiratory difficulties, brought about by poorly controlled asthma, can contribute to impaired sexual performance and quality of life. Better asthma control should improve all activity tolerance including sexual functioning.

Working with a doctor, patients can discover which triggers set off an attack and how to avoid these triggers. Additional or different medicines may be needed to reduce the chance of an attack and quickly stop one if it occurs.

Patients can also learn to measure how well they are breathing through routine use of a peak flow meter, which can indicate an impending episode before the patient becomes aware of physical warning signs.

Are There Other Triggers?

Symptoms of asthma are brought on when the airways react to triggers. A trigger is often an allergen, such as dust or pollen. Exposure to allergens in bedding could exacerbate the problem. Some experts think that latex condoms may play a role for individuals sensitive to latex. By reducing triggers, people with asthma may enjoy a more satisfying sex life.

Make an Appointment

If you have asthma symptoms during sex, make an appointment to talk to your doctor to learn more about what you could be doing to address it.


American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology


American Thoracic Society



Allergy Asthma Information Association


The Canadian Lung Association



National Asthma Education and Prevention Program: Expert panel report III: Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda, MD: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2007. (NIH publication no. 08-4051). Full text available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/asthgdln.htm Accessed September 1, 2007.

Sex and asthma. Asthma Foundation website. Available at: http://www.asthmafoundation.org.au/Sex.aspx. Accessed June 28, 2012.

Last reviewed June 2012 by Brian Randall, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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