Barriers to Care of Sexual Health Concerns in Men Following Traumatic Pelvic Fractures

J Sex Med. 2019 Oct;16(10):1557-1566. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.07.014. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


Introduction: Traumatic pelvic fractures are associated with sexual dysfunction in men. However, how men are counseled and access care for sexual health following injury remains unknown.

Aim: The purpose of this study was to identify factors associated with accessing and obtaining care for sexual health concerns following traumatic pelvic fracture in men.

Methods: Men treated for traumatic pelvic fractures at a level 1 trauma center were invited to participate in an online cross-sectional survey. The survey addressed multiple demographic and sexual function domains, as well as the postinjury sexual health care experience. De novo sexual dysfunction following injury was ascertained and reasons for not seeking care examined. Inverse probability weighting was utilized to adjust for nonresponse. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with discussion of sexual health with providers after injury.

Outcomes: The primary outcome was discussion of sexual health with health care providers after injury. Secondary outcomes included prevalence of self-reported sexual dysfunction, classification of sexual dysfunction experienced, and perceived barriers to accessing or obtaining care for sexual health concerns.

Results: 277 men completed the survey. After adjustment, 46.3% (95% CI = 39.4%-53.0%) reported de novo sexual dysfunction after injury, with erectile dysfunction the most common symptom (27.9%). Only 20.4% (95% CI = 15.1%-26.0%) recalled having discussions or being asked about their sexual health following injury, and of these conversations 70.7% were patient-initiated. The most common perceived barriers to discussing sexual health with providers were the belief that sexual dysfunction would resolve with time (26.1%), and a lack of knowledge about their condition and treatment options (21.5%). On multivariate analysis, the presence of postinjury sexual dysfunction (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 3.42), private insurance (aOR = 2.17), and being married or in a partnership (aOR = 3.10) were independently associated with likelihood of having had sexual health discussions.

Clinical implications: Despite the high prevalence of sexual dysfunction in men following pelvic trauma, sexual health concerns are inadequately addressed due to both patient and provider factors.

Strengths & limitations: The major strengths include large sample size, detailed reporting of subject experience, and new information in a previously understudied area of pelvic trauma survivorship. The primary limitations are low survey response rate, lack of representativeness of survey participants to whole pelvic fracture cohort, single-center experience, and cross-sectional study design.

Conclusion: Sexual health concerns after pelvic fracture are common but inadequately addressed by health care providers. Improved postinjury, survivorship-model care pathways need to be designed to better address sexual health after injury. Johnsen NV, Lang J, Wessells H, et al. Barriers to Care of Sexual Health Concerns in Men Following Traumatic Pelvic Fractures. J Sex Med 2019;16:1557-1566.

Keywords: Barriers; Pelvic Fracture; Sexual Dysfunction; Sexual Health; Urotrauma.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erectile Dysfunction / etiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Fractures, Bone / complications*
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pelvic Bones / injuries*
  • Prevalence
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / epidemiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / therapy*
  • Sexual Health*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires