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Sexual issues of women with spinal cord injuries

Abstract

The need for research addressing problems unique to women with spinal cord injuries is well documented. Consequently, 231 such women, ages 18 to 45, were surveyed. Demographic characteristics and data relating to physician usage, female hygiene, pregnancy, contraception and sexuality were collected.

Analysis revealed that 60% of the respondents had post injury amenorrhea; the average time until menses resumption was 5 months. The group's post injury pregnancy rate was one-third its pre injury rate, but women with incomplete paraplegia had significantly more pregnancies than those with complete quadriplegia.

Of 47 women who did carry babies to delivery, one-half had vaginal deliveries; 49% used no anesthesia. Problems during pregnancy included autonomie hyperreflexia, decubitus ulcers, urinary tract infections, water retention, bladder and bowel problems, anemia, spotting, fatigue, cardiac irregularity and toxemia. Many of these problems plagued the women during labor and delivery and in the post partum period as well.

Sixty-nine percent of the women were satisfied with their post injury sexual experiences, although self confidence, spasticity, and lack of spontaneity were issues. Although satisfied with care received from physicians, many women were not content with the information provided during rehabilitation, and felt a need for more literature, counselling, and peer support.

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Charlifue, S., Gerhart, K., Menter, R. et al. Sexual issues of women with spinal cord injuries. Spinal Cord 30, 192–199 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1038/sc.1992.54

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sc.1992.54

Keywords

  • spinal cord injuries
  • women
  • sexual aspects
  • pregnancy outcome
  • menstruation

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