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ABSTRACT: We assessed sexual education and function of adults with spina bifida to identify predictors of relationships and sexual activity.
A total of 290 patients with spina bifida were clustered into 6 groups based on lesion level, including men in group 1-less than L2, group 2-L3-L5 and group 3-less than S1, and women in group 4-greater than L2, group 5-L3-L5 and group 6-less than S1. Urinary continence, genital sensation and patient educational level were considered. A questionnaire on sexual education, relationship and sexual activity was administered.
No difference in the incontinence rate was noted between males and females. Men had learned sex education from friends/media (41.6%) and women had learned it from parents (37.5%) or at school (33.7%). Genital sensation was normal in 7.2%, 53.3% and 53.5% of the patients in groups 1 to 3, respectively. Patients in group 3 had more frequent sexual intercourse than those in group 1 or 2 (30% vs 14.3% and 14.2%, respectively). Genital sensation was decreased in group 4 patients compared to those in groups 5 and 6 (44.4% vs 13% and 3.5%, respectively). Patients in group 4 were more sexually active than those in groups 5 and 6 (p <0.05). Lesion level did not affect the ability to form relationships in patients of either gender. Education level was the same across all patients with no difference when male/female groups were compared by lesion level. Predictors indicated that patients with the highest chance of finding a partner and engaging in sexual activity were those with the lowest lesion level. However, all other predictors were statistically significant (p <0.05).
Sex counseling should be part of the regular medical care in patients with spina bifida. A difference exists between males and females when comparing lesion level and sexual activity.
The Journal of urology 08/2009; 182(4 Suppl):1911-6. · 4.02 Impact Factor