Sexual Functioning in Women after Surgical Treatment for Endometrial Cancer: A Prospective Controlled Study

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Abstract

Introduction.

Endometrial cancer (EC) can affect sexual functioning based on anatomical, physiological, psychological, and relational mechanisms.

Aim.

The aim of this study was to prospectively investigate sexual adjustment of women with EC during a follow-up period of 2 years after surgical treatment and to compare the results with women who underwent a hysterectomy for a benign gynecological condition and healthy control women.

Methods/Main Outcome Measures.

In this prospective controlled study, participants completed the Short Sexual Functioning Scale, Specific Sexual Problems Questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory Scale, World Health Organization-5 Well-being Scale, and Dyadic Adjustment Scale to assess various aspects of sexual and psychosocial functioning before undergoing a hysterectomy and 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years after surgery.

Results.

Eighty-four women with EC, 84 women with a benign gynecological condition, and 84 healthy controls completed the survey. In EC survivors, no differences were found in sexual functioning during prospective analyses. In comparison with women with a benign gynecological condition, significantly more EC patients reported entry dyspareunia 1 year after surgical treatment. Moreover, compared with healthy women, pre- and postoperatively, significantly more EC patients reported sexual dysfunctions, including sexual desire dysfunction, arousal dysfunction, entry dyspareunia, and a reduced intensity of orgasm. Furthermore, compared with healthy controls, EC patients reported significantly lower overall well-being 1 year after surgical treatment. Nevertheless, consensus in the partner relationship was significantly higher in EC patients compared with healthy controls. Moreover, before treatment, quality of partner relationship was negatively associated with sexual arousal dysfunction and orgasm dysfunction.

Conclusions.

In EC patients, no differences were found in sexual functioning when prospectively comparing the situation before surgery with the situation after surgery. However, when compared with healthy controls, EC patients are at high risk for sexual dysfunctions, both before and after surgical treatment. Aerts L, Enzlin P, Verhaeghe J, Poppe W, Vergote I, and Amant F. Sexual functioning in women after surgical treatment for endometrial cancer: A prospective controlled study. J Sex Med 2015;12:198–209.

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