[Note: This open-access paper meant to educate physicians is part of a special fibromyalgia issue of Reumatismo, the official journal of the Italian Society for Rheumatology. To read the full text of this article & the other papers, all in English, CLICK HERE.]
The aim of this review was to describe the recent literature concerning sexual dysfunction in fibromyalgic patients. To this end, we used the common online databases PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE (up to June 2012) and searched for the key words fibromyalgia (FM) and sexual dysfunction.
All the studies examined underlined that FM is strictly associated with sexual dysfunction in women.
The major findings observed were related to:
• A decreased sexual desire and arousal,
• Decreased experience of orgasm,
• And in some studies an increase in genital pain.
The psychological aspects, together with the stress related to the constant presence of chronic widespread pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances, are certainly a major factor that adversely affects the sexuality of the patient with FM.
Moreover, the drugs most commonly used in these cases may interfere negatively on the sexuality and sexual function of these patients.
Therefore, the therapeutic intervention should be targeted and the side effects should be weighed up against the positive effects.
It is of the utmost importance to recognize the problem of sexuality and sexual dysfunction in a more complex form of its expression and undertake a multidisciplinary therapeutic intervention to improve the quality of FM patients’ life.
Source: Reumatismo, Sep 28, 2012;64(4):261-7. PMID: 23024970 by Bazzichi L, Giacomelli C, Rossi A, Sernissi F, Scarpellini P, Consensi A, Bombardieri S. Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, and Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiology, Pharmacology and Biotechnology, University of Pisa, Italy [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]