Sexual Problems Are Common With GI Disorders, But Few Patients Discuss Them With Doctors

You’re not alone if your sex life is being impacted by inflammatory bowel disease, chronic liver disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

These GI diseases are the ones that are most frequently linked to sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction and libido loss in men and pain during sex in women.

The good news is that treatments work. The bad news is that, according to a recent poll, few patients or doctors bring up these private issues during a doctor appointment. For example, just 4% of patients and 29% of gastroenterologists bring up sexual problems in conversation.

Eighty percent of the 426 doctors surveyed felt a lack of information was the primary cause. Another 58% claimed they lacked the necessary expertise, 44% claimed they lacked the time, and 30% claimed they were ashamed.

At this year’s United European Gastroenterology (UEG) 2022 meeting in Vienna, Marco Romano, MD, from the University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli” in Naples, Italy, stated that although patients with gastrointestinal disorders frequently experience sexual dysfunction, discussions around the subject are not common in gastroenterological care.

According to Romano, physicians are aware that their patients’ quality of life is impacted by this. The majority of doctors would welcome further instruction and experience in this field during medical school, their residency, or as practising physicians.

And many of the doctors surveyed believe that patients would appreciate it if their GI condition was respectfully inquired about by a doctor to see whether it affects their close connections. According to Romano, this talk “is frequently regarded as a relief to patients who find that the gastrointestinal issue and the sexual dysfunction are interconnected.”

Some GI and other pharmaceuticals, such as some medications used to treat acid reflux, may be somewhat to fault. Proton pump inhibitors and prokinetic drugs were mentioned by nearly 15% and 18% of clinicians, respectively, as contributing factors to patients’ sexual dysfunction. Sexual issues are thought to be caused by both drug kinds.

Patients should be informed about the benefits and drawbacks of various treatments, according to Asma Fikree, MD, PhD, of the Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust in London.

According to Fikree, the poll emphasises the significance of inquiring about sexual dysfunction in patients.

“We might inquire about erectile problems in guys, but we are terrible at doing so in women,” “explained Fikree, the UEG session moderator. “Sexual dysfunction may not bother some patients as much as it does others, but it may be quite essential to some.

“We should take this into account as part of their care and therapy,”

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