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Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría

Print version ISSN 0034-7450


POSADA CORREA, Ana María et al. Sexual and Reproductive Health in Patients with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. rev.colomb.psiquiatr. [online]. 2020, vol.49, n.1, pp.15-22.  Epub June 12, 2020. ISSN 0034-7450.


People with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BD) have a high risk of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, due to their condition of vulnerability or hypersexuality (common in BD). This is associated with difficulty in planning their actions and lack of sex education and counselling by medical personnel, and can lead to adverse obstetric outcomes and inability to care adequately for their children.


To describe the characteristics in terms of sexual and reproductive health, and the use of contraception and counselling in psychiatric consultations, in a sample of patients with BD and schizophrenia in Medellin, Colombia.


Observational cross-sectional study. We included the 160 participants from the clinical trial, "The effects of a multimodal intervention programme in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia", who were recruited from the mood and psychosis disorders group clinic at Hospital Universitario de San Vicente Fundación in Medellin. They were contacted by phone by a third-year psychiatry resident, who applied a survey about the characteristics of their sex life, contraception and reproduction.


Almost all of the patients with schizophrenia were single, had no undergraduate studies and were unemployed. No significant differences were found regarding the age of starting sexual relations when comparing by diagnosis and gender. Almost all patients with schizophrenia and almost half of the patients with BD reported not having an active sexual life. Almost all of those who admitted to having an active sexual life claimed to always use contraception; in the BD group, only 48.8% of single women admitted to using contraception and a little over half of men stated that they used a condom when having sex. A quarter of the pregnancies were unplanned.

Although the majority of the patients stated that they had never received information about family planning in the consultations with their psychiatrist, 57.4% of the patients with BD and 78.8% of those who had schizophrenia, considered themselves to be well informed on the subject.


Patients with mental illness have cognitive and behavioural alterations that affect their sexual and reproductive lives. Psychiatrists should therefore address this issue, to ensure education in areas such as contraception, family planning and sexually transmitted diseases and help safeguard the safety and quality of life of their patients.

Keywords : Bipolar disorder; Schizophrenia; Mental illness; Contraception; Sexuality.

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