by Dr. Jeff B. Brown (www.jeffreybrownmd.com/)
As an African American internist, author, and patient educator, I’m on a mission to help people take charge of a health issue that’s greatly affecting their lives. I’ve seen firsthand how many people here in America lack the knowledge about current health issues. These facts can not only inform you about the state of your health but can also save your marriage. Read on to see our list of health problems that might have a great impact on your marriage.
5 Common Health Issues: Find Out What Health Issue Can Affect Your Marriage the Most
1. Premature Ejaculation
Premature Ejaculation (PE) is a very common health issue affecting many men. For the average male, the time from insertion to ejaculation is less than three minutes. The definition of PE is ejaculation that occurs too quickly or before a man wishes to during intercourse to satisfy his partner.
It’s thought that PE partially originates during the late adolescent to late teenage years when young men often experiment with masturbation. During those younger years, they essentially need to please only themselves. As a result, they learn to do it quickly. Additionally, they often had to “speed things up” in the bathroom while masturbating because they surely didn’t want to be busted by the home police (a.k.a. mom or sister).
This learned behavior is often very difficult for men to change and can turn to a serious health issue leading to sexually dissatisfied partners. A sexually dissatisfied spouse is vulnerable to temptations outside of the marriage, which can lead to very complex and often irreversible problems. An adage states that “bad sex” has a much greater impact on ruining a relationship (up to 70%) than “good sex” has on improving it (15%).
Thankfully, there’s help for men with this health issue. Essentially, men must learn to control their pubococcygeal (PC) muscles, which originate from the pubic bone, go under the genitals, and attach to the tailbone. A man can discover these muscles by attempting to stop his urine flow midstream. Men with this health issue need to go to reputable websites and talk to a doctor or other qualified health professional about how to gain more control over these muscles to stop PE.
2. Chronic, Loud Snoring
Chronic, loud snoring is often due to a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is a health issue caused by the collapsing of the upper air passages during sleep, causing a blockage of air to the lungs, which results in low blood oxygen and disrupted sleep.
People who leave this condition untreated can suffer from many complications including depression, loss of sex drive, hyperactive behavior, leg swelling (if severe), heart arrhythmia, heart failure, high blood pressure, and stroke.
In addition to all the above mentioned serious personal health problems, the spouse of someone with OSA suffers a great deal, too. The non-snoring spouse may be forced to sleep in a different room or may endure many sleepless nights in the room with a snoring spouse. Either way, OSA may be the source of lots of stress in a marriage and can potentially lead to many serious marital problems.
Thankfully, there’s a solution to this common health problem. The fix for most people is to get a doctor-prescribed sleep study and likely wear a CPAP device (a small machine attached to a face mask that blows air through the nose and/or mouth while you are asleep). Be sure to talk to your doctor or your spouse’s doctor about this condition, so you can both sleep happily ever after in the same bed!
3. Untreated Depression or Other Mental Illness
The time has come for all of us to start recognizing mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder as true medical conditions, just as we recognize high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. As a physician, I can tell you that some people are just born prone to depression or to some other mental illness.
Most common mental illnesses have a biological basis, not just an emotional or spiritual basis. Most are due to either overproduction or underproduction of certain neuro-hormones in the brain. For example, if your brain is significantly under-producing serotonin (the cause of clinical depression), there’s nothing you can do about it other than to seek treatment. Think of it like this: if your blood pressure was too high and you’ve tried different self-treatments without success, it might be time to start formal treatment options.
When someone has an untreated mental illness, essentially, this person is not himself or herself. It’s very difficult to maintain any relationship, let alone a marriage if you’re not “yourself.” People with this untreated health issue often come back to themselves after starting treatment and realize how many past relationships they inadvertently destroyed while they were just not themselves.
4. Obesity/Letting Yourself Go
Obese, how dare someone call you that! For many people, hearing they’re overweight or obese seems downright insulting. However, it’s important for people to know that the term obesity is not a social judgment, but rather a medical term health care providers use to define how much fat is in a person’s body.
Obesity and being overweight can make a person sick in many ways, including serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. In addition to the obvious potential health problems, letting yourself go physically may lead to your spouse finding you less attractive, and you may have less energy for the things you used to love to do with your spouse.
Keeping your temple/body as fit as you can won’t only make you more attractive to your spouse, but it will also help you avoid the obvious health issue that can easily derail whatever ambitions you may have for yourself, your spouse, and your family.
Tips to Stay Fit:
- Get 30 to 40 minutes of physical activity three to five times a week. Start out by walking (walk like you’re running late).
- Never try to lose more than one to two pounds a week. Lose more than this and you’ll likely gain all the weight back plus extra because you’ve tricked your brain into thinking there is a “famine” in the land (a reflex from our ancient past).
- To lose one pound in a week, you’ll need to burn an extra 3,500 calories a week or 500 calories a day.
Keep in mind: To be fit is different from being thin; it is and should be about being healthy!
5. Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD)
Female Sexual Dysfunction (FSD) involves several female sexual symptoms, including pain during sexual intercourse, not finding sex pleasurable, lack of desire for sexual activity, an inability to orgasm, and/or a lack of vaginal lubrication (arousal). An estimated 43% of women complain of some type of sexual dysfunction.
While the causes of FSD are not fully known, they likely involve complex interactions between women’s emotions, hormones, stress levels, certain medication side effects, and certain diseases. Here are the other health problems that can affect a woman’s sex drive:
- Chronic Health Conditions: These include diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, and hypertension
- Pelvic Surgeries: It reduces the arousal due to the surgery damages and the prevention of the flow of blood to the tissues in the genitals
- Hypothyroid: An underactive thyroid gland also reduces sex drive
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): This can cause discomfort and pain in the genitals while having sex
Vulvovaginal atrophy is common due to the estrogen loss associated with menopause and other conditions such as postpartum, which leads to atrophy of the vulva, vagina, and urinary tract.
Although researchers have yet to determine the exact causes of FSD, many symptomatic treatments exist, so it’s important for a woman suffering from any sexual dysfunction to bring it up to her primary care provider or ob-gyn. Women should enjoy sex just as much as men do!
Female Sexual Dysfunction is one of the health issues that can greatly affect a marriage. Learn more it by watching this video from womenhealthzone:
The diagnosis of certain health problems, such as those mentioned in this post, won’t be easy to handle for anyone, especially if their spouse is involved. This is why a regular checkup is highly recommended for married couples. Doing this will prevent you from having a health issue that can soon affect your marriage.
Do you know other health issues that can affect a marriage? Tell us in the comments section below!
Jeffrey B. Brown, M.D., is a Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital Internal Medicine trained physician. Throughout his medical school years, residency training, and practice of internal medicine, he has received numerous awards and accolades for his compassion and pursuit of academic excellence. Dr. Brown is certified by the National Board of Internal Medicine. For more information, visit his website.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 29, 2011, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.