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Determinants of sexual dysfunction in women with multiple sclerosis

Khadijeh Mohammadi1, Parvin Rahnama1*, Sakineh Moayed Mohseni2, Mohammad Ali Sahraian3 and Ali Montazeri4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Midwifery, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

3 MS Research Center, Sina Hospital, Iranian Center for Neurological Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Mental Health Research Group, Health Metrics Research Centre, Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Neurology 2013, 13:83  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-83

Published: 12 July 2013



The aim of present study was to determine disease-related and psychological risk factors for sexual dysfunction in women with multiple sclerosis (MS).


This was a clinical-based study conducted from September 2009 to June 2010 in Tehran, Iran. A consecutive sample of female patients with MS was recruited from an outpatient clinic. The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) was used to evaluate sexual function. In addition neurological impairment was measured using the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), and depression was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed in order to examine the association between sexual dysfunction and independent variables.


In all, 226 women participated in the study. Of these, 125 women (55.3%) met the criteria for sexual dysfunction. The mean age of participants was 35.7 years (SD = 8.07). The results obtained from multiple logistic regression analysis indicated that the disease duration (OR for the disease duration of equal or greater than 9 years = 3.13, %95 CI = 1.29-7.57, P = 0.01), the disease course (OR for secondary progressive MS = 3.96, %95 CI = 1.55-10.10, P = 0.004) and the BDI score (OR = 1.11, %95 CI = 1.07-1.16, P < 0.001) were significant factors contributing to sexual dysfunction in these patients.


The findings from this study indicated that the duration and severity of the disease in addition to depression were the most significant factors that contributed to sexual dysfunction in women with multiple sclerosis. The burden of disease and sexual dysfunction suggests the need for further attention to this patient population.