[Sexual dysfunction—what is the primary physicians role?]

Yan Press, Sasson Menahem, Pesah Shvartzman
Harefuah 2003, 142 (10): 662-5, 719

BACKGROUND: Sexual dysfunction is characterized by disturbances in sexual desire and/or psycho-physiological changes associated with the sexual response cycle in men and women. Studies suggest that it is prevalent in 10-52% of women and 25-63% of men, and could have a tremendous impact on the individual, interpersonal relations, and on the family quality of life.

OBJECTIVE: To assess attitudes, knowledge and sexual dysfunction management by Israeli primary care physicians.

METHODS: Two hundred and ninety-two physicians from approximately 800 participants who attended a Family Medicine and General Practice conference took part in the study. A self-reply questionnaire was distributed among the participants and 179 completed the full questionnaire (61%).

RESULTS: Seventy nine percent of the physicians thought the primary care physician should be the address for treating most sexual dysfunction problems. Physicians indicated that only 12% of their patients treated for sexual dysfunction were female. Significant differences were found between male and female physicians, board certified family physicians, general practitioners and residents in family medicine regarding sexual dysfunction treatment. Board certified family physicians treated more patients with sexual dysfunctions than general practitioners (GP) and residents in family medicine [53% vs. 23% vs. 22% respectively, (p < 0.05)]. The main barriers for treating sexual dysfunctions noted by physicians were lack of time (62%) and knowledge (47%).

CONCLUSIONS: Family physicians consider themselves to be the main address for the patient for sexual dysfunction problems. Physicians believe they need more training to overcome lack of knowledge barriers and they need to organize their time to adequately address their patients sexual dysfunction problems.

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