Sexual Functioning after Stroke among Rehabilitation Medicine Out-Patients and their Sexual Partners: A Cross-Sectional Study
Background. Sexuality remains to be a sensitive issue in the Philippines, but it encompasses real problems that stroke patients and their partners continue to face. Sexual dysfunction, an under-recognized complication poststroke, is caused by an interplay of physical, emotional, cognitive, and language impairments, in combination with psychosocial factors.
Objectives. This study aimed to determine changes in sexual functioning (libido, coital frequency, sexual arousal, and sexual satisfaction) among stroke out-patients at the Philippine General Hospital and their sexual partners.
Methods. This cross-sectional study involved patients (≥30 years old with 1 stroke episode), and their partners. Through individual interviews and questionnaires, data were gathered on general attitude toward sex, ability to address sexual issues with partner, fear of recurrence of stroke, unwillingness to participate in coitus, risk of depression, and level of happiness.
Results. Twenty-nine patients and 23 partners participated. There was a statistically significant decrease in coital frequency post-stroke among patients (p<0.001) and partners (p<0.05). Majority reported lower level of libido, sexual arousal, and sexual satisfaction post-stroke. Participants unable to discuss sexual issues with partner were more likely to report sexual dissatisfaction (p<0.05). Those with higher scores on Zung’s depression scale were likely to be sexually dissatisfied (p<0.05). Level of happiness was moderately correlated with sexual satisfaction (r=0.51).
Conclusion. Sexual life of couples affected by stroke is commonly overlooked. There was a decline in libido, coital frequency, arousal, and sexual satisfaction among stroke patients and partners at the Philippine General Hospital.