Health-related quality of life and economic impact of urinary incontinence due to detrusor overactivity associated with a neurologic condition: a systematic review
PURPOSE To study satisfaction with sexual life and self-assessed sufficiency of sexual counselling in persons with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) and meningomyelocele (MMC). METHOD A postal questionnaire on aspects of health and functioning was answered by 190 persons with traumatic SCI who had been treated in the Spinal Injuries Unit in Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden and 41 persons with MMC who were admitted to the Young Adult Teams in Göteborg, Borås and Skövde, Sweden. RESULTS On a numerical scale from 0 (dissatisfied) to 10 (satisfied) the median of satisfaction with sexual life was 3 for the men and 4 for the women among the persons with traumatic SCI. In the MMC group the median of satisfaction with sexual life was 5 for the men and 8 for the women. Sexual dissatisfaction increased with increasing age in both groups. Inconvenience caused by urinary and faecal incontinence, as well as neuropathic pain increased sexual dissatisfaction in the men with traumatic SCI. A total of 69% of the men with traumatic SCI and 56-59% of the participants in other subgroups reported that the sexual counselling they had received was sufficient. CONCLUSIONS The results corroborate findings from earlier studies that satisfaction with sexual life is rather low among persons with SCI. Especially ageing men with traumatic SCI who have sustained injury at an older age are a challenge for rehabilitation. The high satisfaction with sexual life in the women in comparison with the men with MMC is a finding not reported earlier. Our results suggest that adequate treatment of incontinence and pain might improve even sexual satisfaction. Sexual counselling should be given to all individuals with SCI and to their partners. Sexual counselling for young adults with MMC is an important part of the rehabilitation process.