Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunctions Among Women with Multiple Sclerosis

Lew-Starowicz M, Rola R.  III Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland.  Sex Disabil. 2013 Jun;31(2):141-153.

Sexual concerns are known to be common in women suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) but definite data on the prevalence of particular sexual dysfunctions (SD) remain unclear. Previous studies brought inconsistent findings and rely on small groups of patients or use of unvalidated assessment methods. The aim of this research was to evaluate the prevalence of SD in women with MS using validated clinimetric scales. 137 female inpatients with MS diagnosis were interviewed, completed The Female Sexual Function Questionnaire SFQ28 and underwent neurological assessment. Only 2.2 % of patients had ever discussed their sexual concerns with a physician. 70.1 % reported sexual activity. At least one SD could be found in 82.5 % of patients, hypoactive sexual desire (57.7 %), arousal dysfunction (decreased genital sensation in 47.3 %, decreased lubrication in 48.4 %, decreased subjective arousal in 45.2 %) and orgasmic dysfunction (39.8 %) being the most probable. SD were less likely in women who assessed their relationship positively but more common in older patients and those who had a positive history of depression. The prevalence of SD was higher comparing to the majority of studies by other authors. In conclusion, SD are very common in female patients with MS and permanently overlooked by medical professionals. Therefore, the assessment of sexual function should be implemented in all patients after the diagnosis of MS. Further research is needed for better understanding of the sexuality of this particular population in order to establish targets for therapeutic intervention.