Assessment of sexual dysfunction in patients with multiple sclerosis: a perspective from neurologist

Mariana Gaviria- Carrillo, Silvia Juliana Bueno-Florez, Paola Andrea Ortiz-Salas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Sexual dysfunction (SD) is a common comorbidity in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). It affects the quality of life and remains an overlooked condition. The objective of this study was to describe how Colombian neurologists assess and treat SD and explore the barriers during sexual function evaluation. Methods: In this observational cross-sectional study we developed a questionnaire for neurologists with 4 sections (demographic data, evaluation and treatment of SD, and possible reasons for not discussing sexual dysfunction.) It was sent via email to 326 Colombian neurologists. We grouped the answers according to the type of consultation (neurologists from a MS program or no MS program). We described through absolute frequencies and proportions. Results: Fifty neurologists answered the survey. 64% stated that they usually study sexual dysfunction in neurological disorders. The main methods employed were private reading (86%) and attending conferences (14%). 5/50 participants have never attend pwMS; the Sect. 2–4 was not answered by them. 29% work in a MS program, all of them asked their patients about sexual function, but 18.75% of physicians working outside an MS program have never asked about it. Main reasons for not talking about sexual dysfunction were lack of knowledge (65.1%), presence of a companion (65.1%) and lack of time (55.8%). 91% of the neurologists reported that their patients usually and frequently ask about sexual function. Neurologists use informal questions to assess sexual function (80%), although 64.4% said that they are aware of SD questionnaires. When sexual dysfunction is detected, 91% of neurologists refer patients to another specialist and 87% do not start any treatment. Conclusions: Colombian neurologists are concerned with sexual function in pwMS, however it remains an underdiagnosed an undertreated condition. It is necessary to strengthen knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunction in pwMS, for neurologists and patients. It is also imperative to eliminate barriers around the topic and include sexual function evaluation and treatment as the routine care of pwMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number372
JournalBMC Neurology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 29 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology

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