Sexual function in women with neurological disorders

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: The purpose of this investigation was to study sexual function in women with neurological disorders at fairly distinct and separate locations. The dissertation comprises descriptive, retrospective, quantitative studies on sexual functioning in women with hypothalamo-pituitary disorders (HPD) (n:48), multiple sclerosis (MS)(n:47), and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) (n:42). The results werecompared with those in an age-matched control group (C) (n:42), and as reported by representative Swedish women (n:742) in the Swedish sex survey SiS). The studies were based on comprehensive interviews, neurological examinations, incl. Vibration Perception Thresholds (IDDM), concentrations of prolactin and testosterone in serum (HPD), and a checklist on life satisfaction (IDDM, C, and SiS).Sexual dysfunction was prevalent in almost all women with HPD and MS, and in 40% of the IDDM group. The problem of insufficient vaginal lubrication was more common in those with neurological disorders than among women in the SiS group. Sexual problems caused by reduced libido and orgasmic difficulties were more commonin the HPD and MS groups than in the SiS group. In the HPD group, women with intrasellar adenomas had better sexual function than women having expansively growing pituitary adenomas with both intra- and suprasellar extension. Normal serum testosterone values correlated to masturbation activity. Amenorrhea and older age werecorrelated with sexual problems in all groups. In the MS group, symptoms of a weak pelvic floor and of bladder and bowel dysfunction were correlated with reduced lubrication and orgasmic ability. In the IDDM group, signs of autonomic neuropathy were correlated with sexual dysfunction. Concerning life satisfaction generally,proportionately fewer women with IDDM were satisfied or very satisfied, though differing significantly from the other two groups in only two domains of life: contacts with friends, and physical health.