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Do Austrian experts managing chronic inflammatory disease integrate troubled sexuality and intimacy in daily routine - survey at the annual symposium Crohn Colitis, Bad Ischl, Austria, September 2017

Ucsnik, L1; Kottmela, A2; Bitzer, J3; Teleky, B1; Hoegenauer, CH4

1: Medical University Vienna, Univ.Clin f. Surgery, Austria; 2: Private Practice in Gynecology and Sexual Medicine; 3: Private Practise, Switzerland; 4: Medical University Graz, Dpt for Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Leader of the Working Group for IBD, Austrian Association for Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Austria

Introduction: Inflammatory bowel diseases reduce many aspects of patient’s quality life – including social engagement, sexuality, fertility and reproductivity by intestinal inflammation, or by side effects of medical treatment or surgical procedures. It clinical practice however these important aspects are not fully tackled in the diseases’ management yet. To assess these aspects we asked IBD experts treating these patients to self-assess their treatment-procedures regarding patients’ sexuality.

Method: At the annual Austrian Crohn and Colitis symposium, Bad Ischl, in September 2017, 50 of 190 participants (return rate 26.3%) answered the 24-item-questionnaire on management-procedures as well as their demographic data.

Results: 54% of the participants were male, 52% were professionally working in public hospital, 28% of the doctors had clinically experience more than 21 years, 26% between 10 and 20 years. 58% of the participants asked the patients about sexual problems. 68% were asked by their patients about sexual issues. 46% of the participants had considerations that patients had troubled sexuality but did not address them. Other topics were more important to the patients (68%) and lack of time (54%). 38% of the participants did not offer any help concerning troubled sexuality, 32% referred the patients to specialists such as internal medicine (70%), urologists (50%), gynecologists (48%) , 30% evaluated the impact of medication on sexual function. 44% of the experts suggested the lack of sexual-medicine skills and knowledge to be one of the reasons for impaired disease-management in this area.

Conclusion: The participants of this survey were mainly male and had long clinical experience in the field of inflammatory bowel disease. Despite this they considered their lack of sexual medicine competence as one of the reasons reducing the likelihood of successful disease management. There is a need for professionally designed sexual medicine training in order to increase competence of experts in this field. Further investigations in the field of sexual health and inflammatory bowel disease are to be supported.


Work supported by industry: no.

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