Introduction: Sexual dysfunction has been associated with several chronic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia. However, the literature on sexual functioning in patients with fibromyalgia is limited and restricted to female patients.
Aim: The aim of our study was to evaluate sexual functioning in female and male patients with fibromyalgia compared with healthy controls.
Main Outcome Measure: Sexual functioning was evaluated using the Spanish validated version of the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire (CSFQ) [“A structured interview/questionnaire designed to measure illness- and medication-related changes in sexual functioning.”]
Methods: We used baseline data from several studies performed in adult patients with fibromyalgia (American College of Rheumatology criteria) of both sexes in which sexual functioning was included in the clinical evaluation.
As a control group, we selected an age-matched group of healthy subjects.
We calculated the proportion of patients exhibiting sexual dysfunction (i.e., a CSFQ total score equal to or lower than 41 in females and 47 in males).
CSFQ scores for patients and controls were compared, and the effect sizes for the difference of means were calculated.
Results: Our sample comprised 293 patients with fibromyalgia (276 females and 17 males) and 86 healthy controls (72 females and 14 males).
The frequency of sexual dysfunction was significantly higher in patients with fibromyalgia than in controls for both:
• Females (86.9% vs. 23.6%; relative risk [RR] 3.7, 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.4–5.6)
• And males (76.5% vs. 6.7%; RR 11.5, 95% CI, 1.7–77.6).
[Ed note: An RR of 1.0 would signify no difference between FM patients & controls, on average. The RR of 3.7 indicates the women with FM were 2.7 times more likely than controls to meet the criteria for sexual dysfunction, and for men with FM the RR of 11.5 indicates they were 10.5 times more likely than controls to meet the criteria.]
We found significantly worse sexual functioning for all dimensions in both female and male patients with fibromyalgia.
Effect sizes for the difference in mean scores of the CSFQ were large overall and for all dimensions in both females and males.
Conclusion: Our results show that sexual dysfunction is common in patients with fibromyalgia. The disease seems to deeply affect all dimensions of sexual functioning in both females and males.
Source: Journal of Sexual Medicine, Oct 24, 2011. PMID:22023737, by Rico-Villademoros F, Calandre EP, Rodríguez-López CM, García-Carrillo J, Ballesteros J, Hidalgo-Tallón J, García-Leiva JM. Instituto de Neurociencias y Centro de Investigaciones Biomédicas, Universidad de Granada, Granada; Departamento de Neurociencias, Universidad del País Vasco, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, Leioa, Spain. [E-mail: email@example.com]