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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Patients' experience of sexuality 1-year after allogeneic Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

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PURPOSE: This study explores how patients' experience of sexuality is influenced by physical, psychological and social changes one year after undergoing haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
METHODS: A qualitative study using semi-structured in-depth interviews. The respondents (n = 9) were recruited from the Department of Haematology, Copenhagen University Hospital, one year after HSCT. The interviews were analysed from a phenomenological-hermeneutic perspective.
RESULTS: Bodily changes and symptoms related to chronic graft vs. host disease led to physical limitations or altered body image, which directly or indirectly resulted in sexual dysfunction or problems with intimacy. Symptoms related to chronic GVHD, could explain experiences of sexual dysfunction. Sexual needs were deprioritized as survival became paramount. The experience of changed social roles, both in family life and social network, affected self-image and identity. Finally, communication about sexuality and sexual needs was of significant importance to the current state of their relationship.
CONCLUSION: Physical body alterations, challenges in mastering their new life situation and identity changes affected sexuality and sexual function one year after HSCT. As symptoms resided, sexuality and sex life became more and more prominent in their thoughts and lives. Increased focus is needed on sexuality and sexual dysfunction in the HSCT clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean journal of oncology nursing : the official journal of European Oncology Nursing Society
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)419-426
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2015

ID: 45020353