“I did not know it was a medical condition”: Predictors, severity and help seeking behaviors of women with female sexual dysfunction in the Volta region of Ghana

Autoři: Bolade Ibine aff001;  Linda Sefakor Ametepe aff001;  Maxfield Okere aff003;  Martina Anto-Ocrah aff004
Působiště autorů: Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Health and Allied Sciences, School of Medicine, Ho, Volta Region, Ghana aff001;  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Family Health Medical School, Accra, Ghana aff002;  Department of Biostatistics, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Greater Accra Region, Ghana aff003;  Department of Emergency Medicine University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, United States of America aff004;  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, United States of America aff005;  Department of Neurology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, United States of America aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226404



The study’s main objective was to describe the prevalence and severity of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) amongst a group of Ghanaian women in the outpatient setting of the predominantly rural Volta region of Ghana. Additionally we determine the predictors of FSD severity and care seeking behaviors of women with the condition.

Study design and setting

This was a cross sectional study conducted in the outpatient setting of the Ho Teaching Hospital in the rural-savannah, agro-ecological zone of Volta Region, Ghana.

Methods and procedures

FSD was assessed using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire. FSD was defined with a cutoff of ≤23 so as not to under-estimate the prevalence in this conservative setting. FSFI score >23 was designated “no FSD”. We further categorized women with FSD as having mild (FSFI Total score 18–23), moderate (FSFI Total score <18 to >10) or severe (FSFI Total score ≤10) FSD. Due to sample size restrictions, we combined the moderate and severe FSD groups in our analyses and defined “moderate/severe FSD” as an FSFI Total score < 18. Participants with FSD were further asked to indicate whether or not they sought help for their conditions, the reasons they sought help, and the types of help they sought. We used p<0.05 to determine statistical significance for all analyses and logistic regression models were used to determine crude and age-adjusted effect estimates.


FSD Prevalence: Out of 407 women approached, 300 (83.8%) agreed and consented to participate in the study. The prevalence of FSD was 48.3% (n = 145). Compared to those without FSD, over a third of the FSD women resided in rural settings (37.90% vs 20.60%; p = 0.001) and tended to be multiparous, with a significantly greater proportion having at least three children (31.70% vs 18.10%; p = 0.033).

FSD Severity: Over a quarter of the sample (27.6%, n = 40) met the cut-off for moderate to severe FSD. In age-adjusted models, lubrication disorder was associated with 45 times the odds of moderate/severe FSD (age-adj. OR: 45.38, 95% CI: 8.37, 246.00; p<0.001), pain with 17times the odds (age-adj. OR: 17.18, 95% CI: 4.50, 65.50; p<0.001) and satisfaction almost 5times the odds (age-adj. OR: 4.69, 95% CI: 1.09, 20.2; p = 0.04). Compared to those with 1–3 children, nulliparous women had 3.5 times higher odds of moderate/severe sexual dysfunction as well (age-adj. OR:3.51, 95% CI:1.37,8.98; p = 0.009).

FSD-related Health Seeking Behaviors: Statistically significant predictors of FSD-related care seeking included having FSD of pain disorder (age-adj. OR: 5.91, 95% CI:1.29, 27.15; p = 0.02), having ≥4 children (age-adj. OR: 6.29, 95%CI: 1.53, 25.76; p = 0.01). Of those who sought help, seven in 10 sought formal help from a healthcare provider, with General Practitioners preferred over Gynecologist. About one in 3 (31.3%) who did not seek help indicated that they did not know their sexual dysfunction was a medical condition, over a quarter (28.9%) “thought it was normal” to have FSD, and interestingly, 14.1% did not think a medical provider would be able to provide them with assistance.


Sexual dysfunctions are prevalent yet taboo subjects in many countries, including Ghana. Awareness raising and efforts to feminize the physician workforce are necessary to meet the healthcare needs of vulnerable members of Ghanaian society.

Klíčová slova:

Ghana – Global health – Health care providers – Children – Lubrication – Outpatients – Physicians – Sexual dysfunction


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