Background: Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) following childbirth imposes significant burden to the marital institution around the world. The perineal injury may potentially be one of the main risk factors contributing to postpartum female sexual dysfunction (PPFSD). The study aimed to determine the effect of perineal injury and patients’ characteristics on PPFSD.
Methodology: This cross-sectional questionnaire study was conducted in six different health clinics in the district of Kuantan from April 2019 to October 2019. Eligible women who came to the family health clinics at 6 months postpartum were recruited as study population. The participants completed their biodata and socio-demographic form and the Malay-validated Female Sexual Function Index (MVFSFI) questionnaire given. A cut-off point of 26.55 and below on MVFSFI scoring system was used as a measure of the primary outcome of sexual dysfunction.
Results: Out of 240 women who delivered vaginally, 34 (14%) had intact perineum, 107 (44.6%) sustained 1st degree perineal tear, 96 (40%) 2nd degree tear and three (1.25%) 3rd degree tear. Among the respondents, 60.9% of the sexually active respondents who had vaginal delivery, reported to have PPFSD. The timing of sexual resumption does not correlate with the severity of perineal tear. The severity of perineal tear is significantly associated with age (p=0.018), duration of marriage (p=0.008), body mass index (BMI) (p=0.019) and instrumental delivery (p=0.025). The level of personnel skill whom performed the repair were also found to have a significant relationship to PPFSD (p= 0.001). The relationship of participants’ mean age (p=0.271), marriage duration (p=0.903), race (p=0.928), religion (p=0.852), education level (p=0.549), employment status (p=0.102), family income (p=0.460) and BMI(p=0.159) with presence of PPFSD were all found to be statistically not significant.
Conclusion: Occurrence of PPFSD is high among sexually active women who had vaginal delivery complicated by perineal tear, especially among those requiring instrumentation. The severity of perineal tear is associated with age, duration of marriage, BMI and mode of delivery. However, PPFSD does not significantly relate to the severity of perineal tear. None of the socio-demographic factors show a significant difference to sexual dysfunction.
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