Sexual dysfunction and hepatitis C virus infection

Department of Physiology and Immunology, ”Titu Maiorescu” University, Faculty of Medicine, Bucharest, Romania

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). A significant number of those who are chronically infected will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. Sexuality is an important aspect of the quality of life. The virus itself may play a direct role in causing sexual dysfunction (SD). The frequency of SD is not very well known in patients with chronic hepati- tis C. HCV infection is a global health burden that affects quality of life, with a negative impact on sexual functioning (SF). Sexual dysfunction appears to be more frequent among chronic hepatitis C virus infection (CHC) patients than among the general population.
The prevalence of SD and dissatisfaction with sexual life (DSL) in patients with CHC was jointly investigated via a thorough psychopathological analysis. Several studies have sugges- ted that CHC may be associated with erectile dysfunction (ED) in men. The male sex hormone (testosterone) is typically lowered with advanced liver disease, while the female sex hormone (estrogen) typically increases. Because alcohol abuse further lowers testosterone levels, al- coholic men with hepatitis C who have progressed to advanced liver disease are particularly vulnerable to SD issues. In conclusion, the increasing prevalence of HCV, the possibility of HCV infection should be considered in the differential diagnosis of SD. This article reviews the literature on epidemiology and pathogenetic factors of SD in patients with chronic viral hepatic (CVH) diseases.
sexual dysfunction, hepatitis C virus infection

Correspondence : *Assoc. Prof. Dr. Manole Cojocaru, E-mail:, telefon 0723326663

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