Stigma, Body Image Concerns May Affect Sexuality in People With Focal Dystonia

Sexual dysfunction is a common problem for people with some forms of focal dystonia, scientists report.

Dystonia is a movement disorder that causes a person’s muscles to contract. A person with dystonia cannot control these movements. A focal dystoniaoccurs when the contraction happens in one part of the body, such as the neck, leg, or arm.

In a recent study, researchers investigated sexual problems in people with two specific types of dystonia: cervical dystonia, which affects the neck, and blepharospasm, which affects the eyelids.

One hundred ninety-four people participated in the study. Of these, 65 people had cervical dystonia and 54 had blepharospasm. The remaining 75 people served as a control group for comparison. They did not have dystonia but were similar in gender and age.

Each participant filled out a sexual health assessment questionnaire called the Arizona Sexual Experience Scale. This tool helps clinicians evaluate sexual function in terms of sex drive, sexual arousal, vaginal lubrication or erections, ability to reach orgasm, and satisfaction with orgasm. The study subjects were also evaluated for depression.

The participants’ average age was about 60 years, and 61% of them were male.

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