Samrehab, Värnamo Sjukhus, Värnamo, Sweden
*Corresponding author Email: Kristina.email@example.com
Muscular dystrophy is a group of muscular disorders, which are hereditary with progressive muscular weakness, giving symptoms such as pain, fatigue, physical and psychological impairment. The definition of good sexual health, the individual's right to good sexual health and the relation between sexual health and general health lead to the question of how good sexual health is enabled by health professionals for persons with severe chronic disease, such as muscular dystrophy.
The aim of this review was to explore the existing literature concerning muscular dystrophy and sexual health focusing on patient information and support by health care professionals.
Materials and methods
A literature search of PubMed and PsycInfo was done for ‘muscular dystrophy and sexual’, ‘muscular dystrophy and sexuality’. The articles that were written in English and concerned humans were included. The literature review included both quantitative and qualitative studies and covered journals, research papers, conference proceedings and theses.
Only five articles were found to suit the aim of this study. Through a search of referencelists from the found articles, another three articles were found. Among those articles, only three had high relevance; the other five were too old. The three articles that had high relevance had different scopes and methodology. One study compared levels of hypogonadism and erectile dysfunction (case-control study), another studied adult life with muscular dystrophy (cross-sectional study) and the third explored reproductive outcome and family planning after genetic counselling (combining interviews and questionnaires).
The existing literature is scarce and there is a need for further research concerning sexual health and muscular dystrophy in order to explore how persons with muscular dystrophy experience their sexual health.
It is necessary to develop clinical advice for how health professionals working with persons who have muscular dystrophy can support the patient‘s sexual health and give relevant information to patients/partners/relatives. Despite the lack of knowledge concerning sexual health and muscular dystrophy, models for communication and openness about sexual health among health professionals could probably improve care for this group of patients.