Active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is associated with impaired sexual function, according to a new study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The study, led by Stephanie Both, PhD, of Leiden University Medical Centre in The Netherlands, included 168 female and 119 male IBD patients and a control group without IBD. The investigators assessed sexual function using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) for women and the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) for men.

Overall, IBD patients did not differ significantly from controls in the prevalence of sexual dysfunction, but IBD patients with active disease had significantly lower scores on the FSFI and IIEF than the IBD patients in remission and controls, “indicating impaired sexual function during disease activity,” the researchers reported. Results showed that depression is the most important determinant for impaired sexual function in IBD.

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