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Keywords:

  • multiple system atrophy;
  • parkinsonian syndrome;
  • genital sensitivity;
  • female gender;
  • diagnosis

Abstract

According to the consensus statement on the diagnosis of multiple system atrophy (MSA), erectile dysfunction is required for male patients to fulfil the urinary incontinence criterion. However, there is no equivalent item for female patients. We questioned 19 female patients with MSA of the parkinsonian type (MSA-P), 28 female patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), and 27 healthy controls on their genital sensitivity. A total of 47% of the MSA patients but only 4% of the PD patients and 4% of the control group admitted to reduced genital sensitivity, a highly significant difference (P < 0.001). Moreover, the appearance of reduced genital sensitivity in female MSA patients showed a close temporal relation to the onset of the disease. If these preliminary results can be confirmed and further specified in a larger sample, a historical item of reduced genital sensitivity in female patients might become a diagnostic feature for MSA, comparable to erectile dysfunction in male patients. © 2002 Movement Disorder Society