Affiliations: [a] Department of Neurology, General Hospital Novo mesto, Slovenia
| [b] Clinical Department for Vascular Neurology and Intensive Neurologic Therapy, Division of Neurology, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slovenia
| [c] Institute of Clinical Neurophysiology, Division of Neurology, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slovenia
Correspondence to: Matej Kolenc, MD, DSc, Department of Neurology, General Hospital Novo mesto, Slovenia SI-8000 Novo mesto, Slovenia. Tel.: +386 40 299 970; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: Background: Although in Huntington’s disease (HD) movement, cognition, and personality are most significantly affected, autonomic dysfunction should not be neglected. In women with HD sexual dysfunction has not been adequately studied yet. Objective: To report sexual dysfunction in a systematically studied cohort of female HD patients and compare it with controls of a similar age. Methods: In female HD patients and presymptomatic HD mutation carriers, we compared the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire, neurologic assessment using the Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale (UHDRS) and the Total Functional Capacity (TFC). Results: Of 44 female HD patients and 9 presymptomatic HD mutation carriers, 30 HD patients and 8 HD mutation carriers responded our invitation to complete FFSI questionnaire. Finally, 23 HD women with a partner were compared to 47 controls with a partner. HD patients had more problems with sexual arousal, lubrication, orgasm and sexual satisfaction. By contrast, we found no difference in sexual desire and pain. Sexual dysfunction progressed in parallel with the decline in the TFC; severe sexual dysfunction occurred with TFC <7/13. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated a significant impact of HD on female sexual function that progressed with patients’ functional decline and impaired patients’ quality of life. Sexual dysfunction may be caused by progression of the disease itself, side effects of medication, and comorbidities like depression or dementia.
Keywords: Female sexual function, Huntington’s disease, quality of life, sexual arousal, sexual questionnaire, Unified Huntington’s Disease Rating Scale