How is sexual dysfunction from multiples sclerosis (MS) diagnosed?

Diagnosis of sexual dysfunction is usually based upon self-reports of the person with multiple sclerosis (MS) or the sexual partner. Determining the etiology, or cause, of the dysfunction, and whether it stems from primary (MS-related changes in the brain and spinal cord that affect the sexual response), secondary (MS-related symptoms that do not directly involve nerve pathways to the genital system, but nevertheless impair sexual pleasure), and/or tertiary (disability-related psychosocial and cultural issues that can interfere with one's sexual feelings and experiences) sources, requires medical assessment by a health care professional knowledgeable about MS and sexual function. The diagnostic process may include a physical and neurological exam, sexual history interview, and review of all prescribed medications. Screening for depression and other contributing tertiary factors may be done. Occasionally, additional medical tests may be given. Proper assessment of the contributing factors to the problem sets the stage for effective clinical management. Valid self-reports of sexual function, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Intimacy and Sexuality Questionnaire-19 (MSISQ-19), can be very helpful to both the person with MS and their health care team.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.