Get access

Female Sexual Dysfunction and Hormonal Status in Multiple Sclerosis Patients


Giuseppe Lombardi, MD, Careggi University, Hospital of Florence—Neuro-urology Spinal Unit Department, 50141 Florence, Italy. Tel: +390557948307; Fax: +390557948372; E-mail:


Introduction.  Literature holds no information on a correlation between blood hormonal levels, in particular sex hormones and the sexual response of women with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Aim.  To investigate a possible correlation between hormonal status and the sexual response of females with MS.

Main Outcome Measures.  The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire was used to determine sexual dysfunctions (SDs). Methods for measuring blood hormones were chemiluminescence immunoassay, electrochemiluminescence immunoassay, enzyme immunoassay, and radioimmunoassay.

Methods.  During the screening phase, 55 women of reproductive age were recruited and completed the FSFI. In the first phase of the study females underwent a hematic hormonal evaluation on the third day of their menstrual cycle. Serum follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), prolactin (PRL), thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S), androstenedione, 17[alpha]-hydroxyprogesterone, total and free testosterone, 17 beta estradiol, inhibin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and thyroid hormones (fT3 and fT4) were checked. On the day 20–21 into their menstrual cycle the progesterone hematic value was noted. Patients with amenorrhea had all hormones tested once with a random blood drawing. After a 3-month period patients began phase 2, completing the FSFI again. The same blood hormones were investigated.

Results.  Fifty-four females completed the study. Thirty-one continued to manifest at least one SD: desire (57.4%) was the most common. Overall, 36.4% showed abnormal hormonal alterations. The most frequent was 40% for 17 beta-estradiol. None of the FSFI domains, including the total score, revealed any statistically significant correlation to the hormones investigated. No statistically significant clinical predictive factors for blood hormone abnormalities were detected; comparing females with and without SD, P = 0.250 using chi-squared test was reached.

Conclusions.  Notable percentages of blood hormonal alterations and SD were documented, but no significant statistical correlations were detected between hormonal status and sexual function. Lombardi G, Celso M, Bartelli M, Cilotti A, and Del Popolo G. Female sexual dysfunction and hormonal status in multiple sclerosis patients. J Sex Med 2011;8:1138–1146.