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Burnout, job stress disrupt sexual function in doctors

19 Sep 2020

Among doctors, men who suffer from personal burnout and women who have high levels of occupational stress have worse sexual function, a recent study has found.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 251 residents, of whom 57 percent (n=143) were men and 43 percent (n=108) were women. Most of the participants reported that they had hypothyroidism and were taking medication for it, though it was not known to affect sexual function.

Over a quarter of the participants had burnout; 1.2 percent said that they suffered from high to very high exhaustion, while 24.3 percent agreed that they had somewhat high levels of burnout. A higher percentage of patients reported experiencing mild to moderate (39.4 percent) and moderate to high (4.4 percent) job stress.

Multiple regression analysis showed that personal exhaustion correlated significantly but negatively with erection (p=0.013), satisfaction from sexual contact (p=0.022), and total satisfaction (p=0.032). Hypertension and the total number of glasses of alcohol per week were other important indicators of sexual function in men.

In women, occupational stress likewise emerged as a detriment to sexual function, leading to worse lubrication (p=0.031) and orgasm (p=0.012). In contrast, the number of children appeared to have a positive effect, improving arousal (p=0.009) and lubrication (p=0.006).

“Our findings highlight the impact of workload on doctors’ sexuality. Since burnout and job stress are psychological syndromes, a psychological influence of occupation on sexual life for both sexes is suggested,” researchers said. “However, the exact interaction between professional life and sexuality remains obscure and further studies in a greater population and different professions are a necessity.”

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