The evaluation of sexual dysfunction in infertile womenBy: Eylül GÜN - Jun 10, 2022
Infertile women, including women with endometriosis, suffer from higher rates of sexual dysfunction, study shows
- Infertility is one of the main reasons for sexual dysfunction in women, and this issue needs to be adequately addressed to create solutions and provide couples with a healthy sexual life.
- Women with endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome have the highest rates of infertility which leads to a decrease in sexual functions as well.
What’s done here
- This cross-sectional study aims to assess the prevalence of sexual dysfunction among women with infertility.
- The study group consisted of 80 women with endometriosis, 80 women with PCOS, and 80 women whose partners have infertility.
- The sexual function of the women was evaluated by the Female Sexual Function Index comprising six main aspects of sexual functions (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain).
- Fertile women had higher scores in all dimensions.
- The desire, arousal, lubrication aspects, and the total FSFI scores were found to be lower in women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Women with endometriosis had a lower orgasm, satisfaction, and pain scores.
- Women with endometriosis had the highest rate of suffering from female sexual dysfunction with 100%, women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome with 98,8%, and infertility due to the male factor had a rate of 80%.
- The sexual dysfunction prevalence did not differ significantly between primary and secondary infertility groups.
Strengths and Limitations
- This is the first study to compare the prevalence of sexual dysfunction among women suffering from the most common causes of infertility.
- The limitations were the external validity or the generalizability of the study due to the limited number of subjects involved, the multifactorial nature of female sexual dysfunction, and data collected from Iranian women.
Infertility constitutes a serious health problem in women and men worldwide. The most common causes of women’s infertility are reported to be endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome. The prevalence of infertility in women with endometriosis is as high as 50%. Moreover, women with infertility are known to have higher rates of sexual dysfunction compared to healthy ones.
A group of researchers from Iran performed a cross-sectional study that aimed to assess the prevalence of sexual dysfunction among women with infertility due to different reasons. The study was published in the April 2022 issue of the journal BMC Women's Health.
The study consisted of 240 women with infertility. The reasons for infertility were endometriosis in 80, PCOS in 80, and male factor in 80 women. A total of 160 fertile women were also included in the control group. The sexual function of the women was evaluated by the Female Sexual Function Index, which comprised six main aspects of sexual functions -sexual desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain-. Fertile women obtained higher scores in all dimensions than infertile women. The desire, arousal, lubrication aspects, and the total scores were found to be lower in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, whereas orgasm, satisfaction, and pain scores were lower in women with endometriosis.
Women with endometriosis had the highest rate of suffering from female sexual dysfunction with 100%, women with PCOS came in second with 98,8%, and infertility due to the male factor had a rate of 80%. However, the sexual dysfunction prevalence did not differ significantly between primary and secondary infertility groups.
The authors discussed that chronic pelvic pain is the most significant contributor to the reduction of the quality of life and sexual satisfaction in endometriosis patients. What is more, women with PCOS may feel unattractive due to their symptoms such as hirsutism, acne, and obesity which results in sexual dysfunction. It is also emphasized that the male factor contributes to female sexual dysfunction almost as much as the others. This proves that sexuality is affected when both men and women have fertility issues.
The study revealed more than 60% of Iranian women suffer from sexual dysfunction. They concluded that the assessment and mentioning of the subject should be increased to provide these couples with a healthy sexual life.
Research Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35477457/
endometriosis infertility sexual dysfunction desire arousal lubrication orgasm satisfaction pain PCOS