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Reproductive and sexual functions in bipolar patients: data from a specialized mood disorder clinic

Ebru Aldemir, Fisun Akdeniz, Serhan Isikli, Nesli Keskinoz Bilen, Simavi Vahip.

Objective: The objective of this study is to investigate the reproductive characteristics and sexual functions in bipolar patients monitored in a specialized mood disorder clinic, identify their potential relationship with the use of psychotropics, and investigate gender differences.
Method: The study included 193 patients (100 men, 93 women) with a DSM-IV diagnosis of bipolar disorder being followed at Ege University Affective Disorders Outpatient Unit. Reproductive characteristics of the patients were examined at the evaluation. Sexual dysfunctions were evaluated using the International Index of Erectile Function in men and Arizona Sexual Experience Scale in women.
Results: There was no significant difference between men and women regarding age, duration of marriage, duration of illness, duration of mood stabilizer and antipsychotic drugs use and dosage of antipsychotic drugs. Age at pubarche in men was 13.8±1.2 years, age at menarche in women was 13.2±1.3 years. Current menstrual cycle irregularities were found in 15.1% (n=14) of women. Prevalence of lifetime menstrual irregularities was 38.7% (n=36). 60.4% (n=67) of patients having an active sexual life were using an effective contraception method. 31.7% (n=26) of female patients had sexual dysfunction whilst 52% (n=39) of male patients had erectile dysfunction. In both men and women, no significant difference was found between groups using mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs in terms of sexual dysfunction. There was no correlation between sexual function scores and usage and duration of mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs in either sex.
Conclusions: This cross-sectional study with a relatively large bipolar sample group concluded that the patients’ reproductive and sexual functions were not as much affected by bipolar disorder and psychotropic drug use as had been assumed. However, these results should be supported with prospective and controlled trials.

Key words: Bipolar disorder, reproductive functions, sexual functions

Article Language: Turkish English

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