Problems and Factors Affecting the Sexual Lives of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis Living in Turkey

AKKUŞ Y., Duru G.

SEXUALITY AND DISABILITY, vol.29, no.1, pp.55-63, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11195-010-9191-3
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.55-63
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Sexual dysfunction is frequently reported by patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and this topic is receiving more attention in Turkey with many recent studies having been conducted. A descriptive study was conducted to determine the sexual problems and factors affecting the sexual lives of patients with MS living in Turkey. A demographic questionnaire and the evaluation form of sexual satisfaction were completed 59 study participants. The patients' symptom severity evaluated with the MS-Related Symptom Scale (MS-RS) and sexual problems evaluated with Multiple Sclerosis Intimacy and Sexuality Questionnaire-19 (MSISQ-19). Data has been collected from a face-to-face interview performed by a neurology unit nurse. Results indicated that 27.1% of the participating MS patients had sexual problems, and the difference of patients' sexual satisfaction scores was statistically significant both before and after onset of disease. It was also determined that the relation between MS-RS and MSISQ-19 was significant in a positive way. The total MSISQ-19 score was higher and the difference was significant for participants who were married, who had insufficient income, who engaged in exercise, who had tense relationships with their spouse, who thought that sexual fulfillment is important and that the medicines had changed their sexual life, and who spoke with their spouse about sexual problems. Many factors are involved in the development of sexual difficulties in MS patients. The study determined that as the symptom intensity of MS patients increases, sexual problems also increase. Also this study have shown that after the onset of MS sexual satisfaction decreases. For these reasons, it has been suggested that MS patients and their spouses should be given information about symptom control, and the nurses should offer counsel to the spouses concerning this important topic. Furthermore, patients also need to know the side effects of the medicines they must take, suitable exercises and social activities should be planned, at-home care should be arranged for patients who need it, and free care should also be arranged for those who cannot afford it otherwise.