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Sexual dysfunction in gastroenterological patients: Do gastroenterologists care enough? A nationwide survey from the Italian Society of Gastroenterology (SIGE)

      Abstract

      Background

      Patients affected by gastrointestinal disorders often experience sexual dysfunction (SD). This creates stress and anxiety which impact on patients’ and/or their partners’ quality of life. A multidisciplinary approach to SD is often advisable in these patients. This survey assessed if gastroenterologists routinely discuss SD with their patients and the barriers toward discussing SD in clinical practice.

      Methods

      A 29-item questionnaire was sent to members of the Italian Society of Gastroenterology and Digestive Endoscopy (SIGE). A descriptive analysis of responses was performed.

      Results

      Out of 714 eligible gastroenterologists, 426 (59.7%), responded.The majority (>70%) never/infrequently investigated SD with their patients and, similarly, most patients never discussed SD during the visit. The most reported reasons were lack of knowledge (58%), time (44%), and embarrassment (30%). However, more than 70% of respondents indicated that all specialists should be able to manage sexual problems, and more than 80% declared that it would be useful for gastroenterologists to attend courses dedicated to the problem of SD.

      Conclusion

      Despite the high prevalence of SD, counselling was not routinely performed in gastroenterological care. Lack of education/knowledge appeared as the most important factor. Most of responders felt that attending a course on SD might increase the awareness of SD.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      Sexual dysfunction (SD), Gastrointestinal diseases (GID)
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