Physiologic studies of male sexual dysfunction in multiple sclerosis

TitlePhysiologic studies of male sexual dysfunction in multiple sclerosis
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsYang CC, Bowen JD, Kraft GH, Uchio EM, Kromm BG
JournalMultiple Sclerosis

OBJECTIVE: We conducted this investigation to better define the neural disruptions that result in sexual dysfunction in men with multiple sclerosis (MS), using genital electrodiagnostic testing and nocturnal penile tumescence and rigidity monitoring. METHODS: Thirteen men with MS and sexual dysfunction were recruited for the study. Twelve healthy, sexually potent men were enrolled as controls. All underwent pudendal somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) testing using standard methods, and a new modification to isolate the right and left dorsal nerves of the penis. RigiScan testing was performed on the MS subjects to assess nocturnal erectile function. RESULTS: Unilateral and bilateral DNP SEPs were able to be performed on the control subjects. In all but one MS subjects, DNP SEP abnormalities were found. Three men had normal latency bilateral DNP SEP latencies, but on unilateral DNP testing, abnormalities were identified. Seven men, including those with abnormal or absent SEP latencies, had normal nocturnal erectile activity. There was no correlation between overall functional status, presence of abnormal or absent SEP, and quality of nocturnal erectile activity. CONCLUSIONS: Genital SEP abnormalties are common in men with MS and sexual dysfunction. Unilateral DNP SEP testing was more sensitive in identifying abnormalities than the standard method of pudendal SEP testing. One of the causes of sexual dysfunction in men with MS may be due to genital somatosensory pathway disruption, with sparing of the efferent tracts in some men.

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