04 January 2021

2 minutes to read

Source / Disclosures

Source:

Yee D, et al. Int J Womens Derm. 2020; doi: 10.1016 / j.ijwd.2020.10.010.

Disclosures: Yee does not report any relevant financial disclosure. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.


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According to a systematic review, women were more likely than men to experience a number of sexual health problems associated with HS.

Danielle Yee, MD, from the University of California, Los Angeles and colleagues extracted 789 relevant citations from the PubMed and Embase databases for up to 13 articles dealing with sexual health in the setting of HS. They then studied the gender differences in sexual health in this patient population.

The results indicated that compared to healthy controls, people with HS had significant changes in sexual function.

For men, decrease in the quality of sexual life as assessed by the Questionnaire on the quality of sexual life to be used in men (P P = 0.019) have been reported compared to those without HS.

In women, elevated sexual distress, as assessed by the Female Sexual Distress Scale-Revised (P = .002) and lower sexual function as assessed by the Female Sexual Function Index (P = .01) were reported for HS populations compared to no HS.

One of the datasets explored the reasons for these findings and attempted to understand how men and women experience HS. Compared to men, women were more concerned about physical appearance (89% vs. 79%), decreased sexual desirability (90% vs. 87%) and vertical transmission of HS (51% vs. 27) , while men were more likely to fear passing it on to their partner (60% vs. 49%).

Significantly higher sexual distress, assessed by the Frankfurt Body Concept Scale score for sexuality, was reported by women compared to men (P = 0.02), as well as the impact on sex life according to HS as assessed by the numerical rating scale (P = .021). Women with HS also had poorer overall sexual health according to the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale score (P

According to the results, a higher incidence of sexual dysfunction was reported in older men compared to younger men and in older women at the time of disease onset.

Focusing on the increased impact of HS on women, the researchers suggested that higher rates of sexual distress may be explained by social stigma, as well as by body image factors, differences in sexual physiology and arousal; and differences in how HS is distributed in the body.

It has been suggested that psychosocial and cultural expectations regarding physical appearance are different for women and men. Specifically, women reported a correlation between physical disfigurement and sexual parameters. Additionally, women increasingly felt compelled to modify their behavior based on how HS affects their physical appearance.

The researchers suggested that it may be beneficial for clinicians and researchers to understand the difference between sexual distress and sexual dysfunction. It is important to note that distress may indicate psychological harm while dysfunction may indicate physical manifestations of HS.

“HS is a very serious chronic disease that is significantly associated with disturbances in sexual health across a variety of validated instruments in male and female patients,” the researchers wrote. “The sexual health burden associated with HS appears to be higher among women. “