Sexual function in women with advanced multiple sclerosis.


Changes in sexual function in 47 women with advanced multiple sclerosis are described. Twenty eight (59.6%) of the women reported decreased sexual desire. Seventeen (36.2%) reported decreased lubrication. Five (10.6%) others did not know if they lubricated or not. Eighteen women (38.3%) reported diminished orgasmic capacity and six (12.8%) others had never had an orgasm. Sensory dysfunction in the genital area was experienced by 61.7% of the women and 76.6% had weakness of the pelvic muscles. Sixty six per cent had bowel problems and 89.4% had bladder dysfunction. The changes in sexual function correlated both with neurological symptoms from the sacral segments, such as weakness of the pelvic floor and bladder and bowel dysfunction, and to other symptoms such as ataxia and vertigo as well as with age and the occurrence of amenorrhoea. A significant correlation was found between expanded disability status scale (EDSS) score and cohabitation. Problems with sexual function were reported significantly more often by women with lower EDSS scores. Most women (83%) found the interview a positive experience.

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