Nearly all women with newly diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease experience some form of sexual dysfunction that does not improve even with disease remission, according to research published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Eugenia Shmidt, MD, of the IBD program at the University of Minnesota, and colleagues sought to describe sexual function at baseline and over time in an inception cohort of adult women with IBD.
“This is a very important topic because IBD is usually diagnosed in early adulthood when sexual function and sexual identities are just being formed,” Shmidt said in a video abstract. “The impact of a new diagnosis of IBD on sexual function has not been previously characterized.”
Researchers enrolled 116 women from the Ocean State Crohn’s & Colitis Area Registry in a prospective study that included 2 years of follow-up. They assessed patients — who were all within 1 year of IBD diagnosis — for sexual function using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI).
Investigators found that 97% of the patients had sexual dysfunction defined as a FSFI score of less than 26.55. The mean FSFI score at baseline was 16.4 with a standard deviation of 8.4. Scores were similar for patients with Crohn’s disease (15.5 [8.6]) and ulcerative colitis (17.4 [8.1]).
Researchers determined that older age, non-single marital status and use of biologics were among factors independently associated with risk for sexual dysfunction.
Shmidt and colleagues also found that that FSFI scores and individual domain scores did not change significantly over the course of the study event though patients experienced improvement in overall disease activity.
“My fellow co-researchers and I hope this paper will brings awareness to clinicians who care for women with [IBD],” Shmidt said in the video. “So that sexual dysfunction can be identified early and a multidisciplinary approach to treatment can be started.” – by Alex Young
Disclosures: Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease could not confirm the authors’ relevant financial disclosures.