Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Background: Sexual function plays an essential role in the bio-psychosocial wellbeing and quality of life of women and disturbances in sexual functioning often result in significant distress. Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) and subfertility are common problems affecting approximately 43 and 20% of women respectively. However, despite the high prevalence of both conditions, little has been studied on the effects of subfertility on sexual functioning especially in sub-Saharan Africa. We set out to compare the prevalence of female sexual dysfunction in patients on assessment for sub-fertility and those either seeking or already on fertility control services at a private tertiary teaching hospital in Kenya.

Methods: This was an analytical cross sectional study. Eligible women of reproductive age (18–49 years), attending the gynaecological clinics with complaints of subfertility and those seeking fertility control services were requested to fill a general demographic tool containing personal data and the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire after informed consent. Prevalence of sexual dysfunction was calculated as a percentage of patients not achieving an overall FSFI score of 26.55. Univariate and multivariate analysis were done to compare clinical variables to delineate the potential association.

Results: The prevalence of female sexual dysfunction was 31.2% in the subfertile group and 22.6% in fertility control group. The difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.187). The mean domain and overall female sexual function scores were lower in the subfertile group than the fertility control group though this was not statistically significant. The most prevalent sexual domain dysfunctions in both the subfertility and fertility control groups were desire and arousal while the least in both groups was satisfaction dysfunction. Subfertility type was not associated with sexual dysfunction. Higher education attainment was protective of female sexual dysfunction in the subfertile group while use of hormonal contraception was associated with greater sexual impairment in the fertility control group. On logistic regression analysis, higher maternal age and alcohol use appeared to be protective against sexual dysfunction.

Conclusion: The present study demonstrated no association between the fertility status and the prevalence female sexual dysfunction. Subfertility type was not associated with sexual dysfunction. Education level and hormonal contraception use were associated with female sexual dysfunction in the subfertile and fertility control groups respectively while alcohol use and higher maternal age appeared to be protective against sexual dysfunction.


Fertility Research and Practice

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.