Women with bipolar disorder have high rate of sexual distress

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Overall, 54% of women with bipolar disorder reported sexual distress and 39% were not satisfied with their sexual life.
Overall, 54% of women with bipolar disorder reported sexual distress and 39% were not satisfied with their sexual life.

Women with bipolar disorder have a high prevalence of sexual distress, and their sexual function is closely associated with their mood symptoms and perception of quality of life (QoL), according to a study published in the International Journal of Bipolar Disorders.

Thea Sørensen, from the Psychiatric Centre Copenhagen at Copenhagen University Hospital, and colleagues conducted a questionnaire survey in an outpatient cohort of women with bipolar disorder to investigate sexual dysfunction, sexual distress, general sexual satisfaction, and QoL; explore whether sexual distress was related to bipolar disorder symptoms; and investigate whether QoL was associated with sexual distress.

The survey contained information from the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire, Female Sexual Distress Scale, Altman Self-Rating Mania Scale (ASRM), Major Depression Inventory (MDI), and The World Health Organization Quality of Life-Brief.

In total, 85 women (aged 18 to 70 years) were asked to participate; 14 did not answer the questionnaires (response rate, 83.5%), 8 were not diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and 2 did not fully complete the questionnaires, leaving 61 participants (72% included). Overall, 54% (n = 33) reported sexual distress, and 39% (n = 24) were not satisfied with their sexual life. Women with bipolar disorder were significantly more sexually distressed in comparison with the control group, but they did not have a higher prevalence of impaired sexual function.

Better sexual function was positively associated with ASRM scores, while MDI scores were associated with more distress. The group of non-sexually distressed women with bipolar disorder reported higher QoL scores compared with the sexually distressed group.

Reference

  1. Sørensen T, Giraldi A, Vinberg M. Sexual distress and quality of life among women with bipolar disorder. Int J Bipolar Disord. 6 June 2017. doi: 10.1186/s40345-017-0098-0
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