Sexuality experiences of women with multiple sclerosis reporting overactive bladder: a qualitative study

Dunya C., ÖZKAN İ., Demir S.

JOURNAL OF SEXUAL MEDICINE, vol.20, no.9, pp.1172-1179, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1093/jsxmed/qdad100
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Gender Studies Database, MEDLINE, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.1172-1179
  • Keywords: multiple sclerosis, overactive bladder, qualitative study, sexuality, women
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Background To effectively manage sexual dysfunction in women reporting overactive bladder, it is essential to know how patients perceive these problems, their lives, and their strategies.Aim In this study we aimed to understand the sexual life experiences of women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who report overactive bladder from their point of view.Methods This study included 12 women with MS and was conducted as a qualitative study with a hermeneutic phenomenological framework. The data were evaluated by using Van Manen's thematic analysis method. The Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research checklist was used.Outcomes In this study, thematic codes of sexual symptoms in women with MS with overactive bladder were defined and evaluated.Results As a result of the analysis of the data, four main themes and nine subthemes were identified. The main themes were "sexual self-concept," "sexual relationships," "sexual function," and "coping with problems". Subthemes such as body image, sexual esteem, the meaning of sexuality, communication, intimacy, coping with overactive bladder and sexual problems, and getting support showed that overactive bladder symptoms negatively affected women's sexual health.Clinical Implications Given the variety of sexual problems experienced by women with MS who report overactive bladder, these problems should be a routine part of clinical evaluation.Strengths and Limitations This study is to our knowledge the first to examine the sexual life experiences of MS women reporting overactive bladder in depth based on the holistic view of sexuality theory. However, the sample is small and includes only women with MS who have reported overactive bladder.Conclusions The sexual experience of women with MS who reported overactive bladder was multi-dimensional. Women with MS cope with their sexual problems alone and cannot receive the necessary support from their husbands, nurses, or other health professionals.