Sexuality is important when assessing quality of life, which is often disturbed in inflammatory bowel disease.
However, sexuality is not addressed in most quality of life questionnaires.
Dr Laura Marín and colleagues evaluated the prevalence and predisposing factors of sexual dysfunction among inflammatory bowel disease patients, and their own perception.
A postal survey was conducted in inflammatory bowel disease patients 25–65 years of age from 2 tertiary centres.
The doctors reported that patients were asked to provide a control of the same gender and age without inflammatory bowel disease.
The questionnaire assessed patient perception of the impact of inflammatory bowel disease on their sexuality, and also allowed calculation of the Erectile Function International Index or the Female Sexual Function Index.
The reseaerchers reported that a total of 355 patients, and 200 controls were available for the final analysis.
|A higher prevalence of sexual dysfunction was only noticed among women|
|Journal of Gastroenterology|
The team of doctors noted that both groups were comparable except for a higher proportion of individuals who had been treated for depression among patients.
Half of the female, and one-third of the male patients considered that both sexual desire and satisfaction worsened after inflammatory bowel disease diagnosis.
The research team found that as compared to controls, both men and women with inflammatory bowel disease showed significantly lower scores in sexual function indexes, but a higher prevalence of sexual dysfunction was only noticed among women.
Independent predictors of sexual dysfunction among inflammatory bowel disease patients were the use of corticosteroids in women, and the use of biological agents, depression and diabetes in men.
Dr Marin's team concluded, "Sexuality is often disturbed in inflammatory bowel disease patients, particularly among women. Many factors seem to contribute to worsened intimacy."
"Sexuality should be considered when QoL is assessed in these patients."