Prevalence of sexual satisfaction and impact of pain, fatigue, and other factors in people with multiple sclerosis.
|Title||Prevalence of sexual satisfaction and impact of pain, fatigue, and other factors in people with multiple sclerosis.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Authors||Johnson KL, McMullen KA, Bamer AM, Molton IR|
Introduction: Despite the fact that sexual dysfunction has long been cited as a symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS), a better understanding of the prevalence of sexual satisfaction and associated factors, including the common symptoms of pain, fatigue, and depression, is needed. This information can help to target interventions to increase sexual health and satisfaction, and to improve quality of life. Methods: Individuals with MS (N=617) in the United States involved in an ongoing self-report survey project were asked to report on sexual satisfaction. Other sexual satisfaction items assessed to what degree fatigue or pain affected satisfaction with sexual activity. Demographic variables, and information on pain, fatigue, depression, and other secondary conditions were also collected. Pain and fatigue were measured with PROMIS short forms, and depression was measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire 9. Descriptive statistics and regression analyses were conducted to examine prevalence of sexual satisfaction, impact of pain and fatigue, and identify variables associated with sexual satisfaction. Results: The majority of participants who responded to sexual satisfaction items of the survey (N=523) reported being not at all satisfied or a little bit satisfied with their sex life (52%). Pain interfered with satisfaction of sex life quite a bit to very much in 22% of the sample who reported having pain (N=406). Fatigue interfered with satisfaction of sex life quite a bit to very much in 36% of the sample who reported having fatigue (N=488). Variables associated with increased sexual satisfaction included female sex, lower depressive symptoms as measured by the PHQ-9, lower fatigue scores as measured by the PROMIS fatigue short form, having relapsing remitting MS, and lower age. Conclusions: These results indicate that a majority of persons with MS have low sexual satisfaction, and that pain and fatigue impact satisfaction greatly. Other factors that impact sexual satisfaction, including depression, also need to be examined. More research is needed to explore the impact of treating pain and fatigue on sexual satisfaction in this population. Clinicians should discuss sexual satisfaction with their MS patients and potential treatments should consider the role of pain and fatigue in interference with satisfaction.