Monday, August 4, 2014

Surprising Path to Better Sex: A New Hip

Total Knee replacement : AP view (Xray).
Total Knee replacement : AP view (Xray). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Hip replacement using cementless impl...
English: Hip replacement using cementless implants. 16 days post-surgery. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hip-Joint, total Replacement, insertion withou...
Hip-Joint, total Replacement, insertion without bone-cement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by Tara Parker-Pope

Want better sex? Consider getting a new hip or knee.

Before Mary Ann Oklesson, a New York magazine publisher, had both hips replaced a few years ago, the pain of arthritis made it difficult to walk, exercise or even climb into a taxi. Her failing hips had also taken a toll on her sex life.

"Sex was somewhat painful," said Ms. Oklesson, now in her early 60s. "If I had to pick my leg up to put it in a cab, you can imagine what sex was like."

But all that changed after hip replacement surgery. "It definitely improved my quality of life, and my love life," she says.

While researchers have long known that hip and knee replacement leads to less pain and improved mobility, new research shows that the surgery offers an unexpected bonus in the bedroom. Among 147 patients who had joint replacement surgery in New York, most said arthritis had interfered with their sex lives, according to research presented in March at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. After surgery, 81 percent of those patients who had said their sex lives had suffered as a result of a bad joint reported that the frequency of sexual activity had increased.

Many reported an increase in libido and stamina and an improvement in their ability to climax. The benefits were specially pronounced among patients whose complaint had been failing hips, as well as women, who reported the most discomfort during sex because of painful joints.

"If achieving a position in sexual function is very uncomfortable, it's unlikely to be fruitful in terms of achieving climax," said Dr. Jose A. Rodriguez, director of the Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and lead author of the study.

Hip replacement surgery has risen 85 percent in the past decade, with doctors in the United States performing more than 300,000 procedures in 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available. Much of the increase has been fueled by active middle-age adults, 45 to 65. In that age group, hip replacements have nearly tripled to 128,000 during the same period.

Dr. Claudette Lajam, an orthopedic surgeon at the Center for Musculoskeletal Care at New York University Langone Medical Center, said that so many patients have questions about intimacy after joint replacement that she had added a page to her website devoted to sex.

"That page gets the most hits of any page on my website," Dr. Lajam said. "There are a lot of people who get back out there, or get closer to their spouse, because they've been unable to participate in that intimacy for a while. Just the relief of pain itself improves the relationship."

That was the case for D'Arcy Achziger, an apparel sales director in New York who opted for knee replacement two years ago after suffering from excruciating pain.

After surgery, "my husband was thrilled," said Ms. Achziger. "I had been cranky, just so crabby because it hurt. I was much more pleasant after surgery, and it made his life so much nicer."

Dr. Charles Cornell of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, said some patients are hesitant to talk about the toll joint pain can take on their sex life.

"It's especially important to our younger patients," he said, "but believe it or not, I've had patients in their 80s who this has been a topic for."

Taken from TODAY Saturday Edition, 27-April-2013