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Sexual Dysfunctions and Sexual Quality of Life in Men with Multiple Sclerosis

Authors

  • Michal Lew-Starowicz MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. III Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland
    • Corresponding Author: Michal Lew-Starowicz, PhD, III Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Al. Sobieskiego 9, Warszawa 02–957, Poland. Tel: +48502621459; Fax: +48 22 8424087; E-mail: michallew-starowicz@wp.pl

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  • Rafal Rola MD, PhD

    1. I Department of Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland
    2. Department of Human Physiology and Pathophysiology, The Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
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Abstract

Introduction

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most frequent diseases of the central nervous system and usually occurs at the age when people would be expected to be in the prime of their sexual lives. Clinicians working in this field commonly concentrate on the classical neurological deficits and often overlook symptoms that seriously affect the quality of life, such as sexual dysfunction (SD). Sexual functioning of MS patients remains poorly understood.

Aim

The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of SDs, their relationship with demographic factors, and sexual quality of life in men with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Methods

Sixty-seven patients from the National Multiple Sclerosis Center were interviewed, completed the questionnaires, and underwent neurological assessment.

Main Outcome Measures

Primary outcome measures included the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF), the Sexual Quality of Life Questionnaire (SQoL), and the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).

Results

The most common complaints were erectile dysfunction (52.9%), decreased sexual desire (26.8%), and difficulties in reaching orgasm (23.1%) or ejaculation (17.9%). The severity of SD had a clear impact on sexual quality of life, especially in the domains of erectile function and intercourse satisfaction. However, neither IIEF nor SQoL scores were correlated with age, time since onset of MS symptoms, or EDSS scores. Only 6% of the patients had ever discussed their concerns with a medical professional or undergone sexual therapy.

Conclusions

SD is highly prevalent but commonly overlooked in MS patients and has a significant impact on their sexual quality of life. The data support a multifactorial etiology of SD in MS. More focus on SD and use of appropriate screening tools in clinical practice with MS patients are recommended. Lew-Starowicz M and Rola R. Sexual dysfunctions and sexual quality of life in men with multiple sclerosis. J Sex Med 2014;11:1294–1301.

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