Sexual and reproductive issues and inflammatory bowel disease: a neglected topic in men

There has been considerable literature on sexual issues in women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but relatively little attention has been paid to these aspects in men. To review the available literature and to provide the best management of sexual and reproductive issues in male patients with IBD. The scientific literature on sexual and reproductive issues in men with IBD was reviewed. Several factors, including surgical and medication treatments, disease activity, lifestyle, and psychological factors, may play a role in the development of infertility and sexual dysfunction and may negatively impact pregnancy outcomes. Proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis increases the risk of erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction by up to 26%. A treatment with sildenafil can be effective. Sperm banking should be advised to young men with IBD before surgery. Both sulfasalazine and methotrexate may be responsible for reversible sexual dysfunction and infertility. Furthermore, sulfasalazine should be switched to mesalazine at least 4 months before conception because of a higher risk of congenital malformations in pregnancies fathered by men treated with this drug. Psychotropic drugs, frequently used in IBD, may cause sexual dysfunction up to 80%. Last but not the least, voluntary childlessness occurs frequently, mainly because of concerns about medication safety in pregnancy and fear of transmitting disease. Accurate counseling, and where necessary, psychological support can decrease any misperceptions and fears. Close collaboration between the gastroenterologist and the patient is recommended for the best management of these relevant, neglected aspects in men with IBD.

European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology. 2018 Jan 18 [Epub ahead of print]

Mariangela Allocca, Daniela Gilardi, Gionata Fiorino, Federica Furfaro, Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet, Silvio Danese

IBD Centre, Humanitas Clinical and Research Centre., Gastroenterology and Inserm U954, University Hospital of Nancy, Nancy, France.