A collaborative research study between several institutions in Turkey found that female patients with fibromyalgia often suffer from sexual dysfunction (SD), mood, and anxiety disorders. These findings, “Sexual dysfunction, mood, anxiety, and personality disorders in female patients with fibromyalgia,” were published in the Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment journal.
The American College of Rheumatology has identified fibromyalgia as a chronic condition characterized by a widespread pain felt on palpitation of at least 11 of 18 sensitive point sites around the body. The disease affects more females than males and is frequently associated with psychiatric conditions and sexual dysfunction.
However, the frequency of the associated symptoms varies among fibromyalgia patients and the underlying cause and effect factors are still not fully understood.
“A few studies have examined the relationship between SD and fibromyalgia, but they also had significant limitations,” the authors wrote. “SD and comorbid mood and anxiety disorders have been detected in most studies using only scales. Thus, these studies can only provide information about symptoms related to SD and accompanying depressive symptoms and anxiety, and they do not provide information on the type of SD or the type of psychiatric disorder.
“Furthermore, the studies that have used a structured psychiatric interview were carried out with a limited number of patients. The personality disorders in patients with fibromyalgia that may lead to SD and an Axis I psychiatric disorder have not been assessed previously together,” they wrote
Researchers examined the relationship between SD and mood and anxiety, and personality disorders and how these symptoms impact the quality of life in female fibromyalgia patients. A total of 96 fibromyalgia patients and 94 healthy control women were included in this case-control study. The diagnostic of SD, mood and anxiety disorders, and personality disorders were performed through interviews in accordance with selected standard methods.
The results showed that 50 of the 96 patients (52.1 percent) experience SD, with the majority being a lack of sexual desire (37.5 percent) and arousal disorder (10.4 percent). It was also found that 45 of 96 patients (46.9 percent) suffer from mood or anxiety disorder and 13 patients (13.5 percent) suffer from personality disorder. Major depression (26 percent), generalized anxiety disorder (8.3 percent), and histrionic personality disorder (10.4 percent) were the most recorded common symptoms related to mood, anxiety, and personality disorders.
“SD and mood and anxiety disorders are commonly seen in patients with fibromyalgia,” the authors concluded. “After excluding organic causes of SD, pain rather than a mood disorder played a greater role in the etiology of SD in patients with fibromyalgia. Large-scale studies with the patient and the control groups examining SD and related factors are needed.”