Background and purpose: Although physical problems after stroke have been well studied, there is little information on one of the crucial aspects of the quality of life of those patients, namely sexual functioning and satisfaction. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of stroke on sexual functioning in a stable cohort of Turkish stroke patients with mild or no disability and to assess the relationship between post-stroke sexuality and a number of socio-demographic, clinical and laboratory variables.
Methods: The sexual functioning of 103 Turkish stroke patients with no disability or mild disability was assessed in two consecutive interviews along with clinical and sociodemographic features. NIH stroke, Glasgow coma, Barthel, and Rankin scales were also applied to assess neurologic status and disability.
Results: Most of the patients were male (61%) and illiterate (70%). There was a significant difference between the baseline and post-stroke frequency of sexual activity of the patients. The differences between baseline and post-stroke vaginal lubrication, orgasms and satisfaction were all statistically significant. This latter difference was significant for both genders. Frequency of coitus both prior to and after the stroke was significantly different between males and females. Erection and ejaculation of the males was significantly affected by the stroke, and lubrication and orgasm was affected in the females. Interestingly, fear of recurrent stroke did not differ between genders.
Discussion and Conclusion: Our study has shown that Turkish stroke survivors have sexual health needs during the rehabilitation process, though this has not been addressed previously. Sexual health needs seem to be affected by cultural factors and biases.