PURPOSE: To assess the frequency and nature of sexual dysfunction in MSers and to investigate the relationships of SD with clinical, demographic and psychosocial factors by comparing MSers with and without SD.
METHODS: 89 MSers were included, 45 males and 44 females, ageing an average of 37.4±8.6years (range:21-56). They applied Multiple Sclerosis Intimacy and Sexuality Questionnaire-19 (MSISQ-19) and Arizona Sexual Experiences Scale (ASEX) to all MSers. Disability was evaluated with the expanded disability status scale (EDSS).
RESULTS: 60.7% (n=54) of MSers reported SD according to MSISQ scores. Women exhibited significantly higher MSISQ scores than men (42.6±12.9 and 36.6±13.3, respectively; P=0.034). Women (7.9%) also reported to experience sexual arousal difficulties significantly more than men (1.1%) (P=0.024) according to ASEX. The MSers were classified into three MSISQ-19 subscales, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary SD. The most common reported dimension of SD was secondary (32.5%, n=41). In this dimension of SD, MSers mostly complained of pain-burning, memory-concentration problems and bowel symptoms. A significant relationship was found between Secondary SD and both EDSS score and disease duration (r=0.34 p=0.001 and r=0.21 p=0.042, respectively). Tertiary SD was also associated with EDSS score (r=0.23 p=0.03).
CONCLUSION: Sexual Dysfunction, a frequent problem for MSers, is associated with gender. Women reported more SD than men. Secondary SD symptoms were the most common complaints for both men and women. Nonetheless women had more secondary SD symptoms than men. The emotional dimension of SD is related with disability.
“Interesting results? Why are woman more affected than men? Sexual dysfunction is a common problem and often hidden. Don’t suffer in silence, bring it to the attention of your medical team. They may be able to help!”