Prevalence of Sexual Dysfunction in Women with Multiple Sclerosis: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Background: Sexual dysfunction (SD) is an important issue for women suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS). There is a discrepancy among the reported prevalence of SD in studies that were conducted in different geographical regions.
Objective: We aimed to conduct this systematic review and meta-analysis to estimate pooled prevalence of SD in women with MS.
Methods: We searched PubMed, Scopus, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science, Ovid, Google Scholar and gray literature, including references of selected studies and conference abstracts that were published up to April 2019. The search strategy included MeSH and text words as (sexual function) OR (sexual dysfunction) AND (Multiple Sclerosis OR Sclerosis, Multiple) OR (Sclerosis, Disseminated) OR (Disseminated Sclerosis) OR (MS) (Multiple Sclerosis) OR (Multiple Sclerosis, Acute Fulminating) AND (Female Sexual Function Index OR FSFI). Two independent researchers independently assessed the articles. Results: The literature search found 168 articles but only nine were considered for the final analysis.
Two studies were from Greece, three from Iran, one from Turkey, one from Poland, one from Germany and one from Italy. In total, 1060 MS cases were analyzed. The prevalence of SD was extremely discrepant, from 27% to 95%, and the pooled estimate was calculated as 55% (95% CI 41%-69%), (I2=96.3%, P<00.1).
Conclusion: Prevalence of SD is discrepant among women with MS in different countries and it should be considered as an important concern.
Keywords: sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, systematic review, prevalence