Background: Quality of life improvement is a main goal in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) management. Sexuality is a major determinant of quality of life. Data on sexual dysfunction in IBD and its associated factors are scarce. This study aimed to compare the rate of sexual dysfunction between IBD patients and healthy adults and search for associated factors to sexual dysfunction.
Methods: A 53-item questionnaire was administered to all consecutive IBD patients in 2 University Hospitals from September to November 2015. Sexual function was assessed by two validated questionnaires: Female Sexual Index Function for women and International Index of Erectile Function for men. Healthy controls were recruited in occupational medicine and gynaecology clinics. Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) were enrolled as a second control group. Age adjusted comparisons were performed.
Results: 358 IBD patients filled out the form (192 (53.6%) women; median age: 38 y/o), 238 with Crohn's disease (CD) and 120 with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). The response rate was 82%. 110 healthy controls (54 (49.1%) women; median age: 35 y/o) and 107 IBS patients (54 (50.5%) women; median age: 49.5 y/o) were included. In women, sexual dysfunction rates were 53.6% in IBD, 28% in healthy controls (p<0.01) and 77.5% in IBS (p=0.10); in men, figures were 16.9% in IBD, 7.4% in healthy controls (p=0.64) and 26.4% in IBS (p=0.60). An erectile dysfunction was identified in 43% of IBD patients, 13% of healthy controls (p<0.01) and 55% of IBS patients (p=0.6). IBD activity was not associated with sexual dysfunction. Twenty-eight per cent of IBD women and 15% of IBD men claimed that the disease had a negative impact on their sex life. Fifty-two per cent of women and 53% of men considered their gastroenterologist should address the subject of sexuality.
Conclusions: Impaired sexual function is more frequent among IBD patients than in general population, concerning half of women and 1 out of 6 men. Majority of patients considered that this aspect of their daily life should be taken into account by their gastroenterologist.