Sexual health after orthotopic liver transplantation

Liver Transpl. 2006 Oct;12(10):1478-84. doi: 10.1002/lt.20831.


Many studies have reported improved health-related quality of life outcomes after orthotopic liver transplantation; however, specific research regarding sexual health in liver transplant recipients is limited. We surveyed liver transplant recipients to determine the prevalence of sexual dysfunction. Of the 320 adult liver transplant recipients surveyed by mailed questionnaire, 150 responded (42%). The median age was 54 years. A total of 62% of respondents were male, and 93% were at least 1 year after transplantation. Thirty-six respondents (24%) reported sexual dysfunction before transplantation; this persisted in 22 patients (15%) after transplantation. A total of 48 respondents (32%) reported de novo sexual dysfunction after transplantation. After transplantation, 23% of male and 26% of female respondents reported decreased libido, and 33% of men and 26% of women reported having difficulty reaching orgasm with intercourse. A total of 42% of respondents felt that immunosuppressive medication was the main contributing factor to their sexual problems: 33% and 35% of respondents receiving tacrolimus or cyclosporine monotherapy, respectively, experienced some degree of sexual problems after transplantation. Despite the reported sexual problems, 59% of respondents were "moderately" to "very satisfied" with their sexual relationships after transplantation. Nineteen percent of the respondents used sildenafil to improve their sexual function, and 65% of these reported benefit. In conclusion, sexual problem after orthotopic liver transplantation is a common but poorly studied problem. Although this single-center study has shed some light on the relationship between liver transplantation and sexual health, further prospective studies, involving larger study population and validated instruments, will be needed to better evaluate the influence of liver transplantation on recipients' sexual health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver Transplantation / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Behavior / physiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors