Aims: As the life expectancy of persons with spina bifida increases, sexual life in adulthood presents a considerable challenge for this population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the sexual function of young women with spina bifida and its impact on their quality of life (QOL). Methods: To assess sexual function and QOL by using self-administered questionnaires (Female Sexual Function Index [FSFI] and 36-Item Short Form Health Survey) in young women with spina bifida, we collected data from 44 young women with spina bifida between June 2013 and October 2013 at the spina bifida clinic of our hospital. Results: Sexual dysfunction was noted in 55.5% of women with spina bifida who had sexual activity in the previous month. In sexually active women, the diagnosis, ventriculoperitoneal shunt in situ, mobility, and clean intermittent catheterization did not show a significant difference between each subdomain (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain) and the total FSFI score. However, women who did not have urinary incontinence experienced better sexual function in terms of lubrication and pain scores (P = 0.033 and P = 0.026, respectively). Both the physical and mental composites of QOL were positively weakly correlated with the arousal score of FSFI (r = 0.455, P = 0.044 and r = 0.507, P = 0.023, respectively). Conclusions: More than half of sexually active women with spina bifida experience sexual dysfunction. Therefore, health-care providers should pay attention to the symptoms and their management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology