Background Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory rheumatic disease which affects the axial skeleton, but may also affect peripheral joints, tendons and internal organs. The disease which begins in the second or third decade may give rise to significant loss of function and impaired quality of life. Sexuality is an important part of quality of life. Only a few studies have explored this issue in AS patients. In a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cohort, (74% females, mean (SD) age 56.5 (14.2) years), 1/3 of the patients reported their health statues to have a considerable influence on their sexual activity (1).
Objectives To examined the impact of perceived influence of health status on sexual activity in AS patients.
Methods This is a prospective observational study were patients with established AS seen in the outpatient clinic in three hospitals in the southern and eastern part of Norway, were asked to participate. A broad specter of data was collected which included: demographic, clinical (BASDAI, BASFI) and quality of life data (15ED) which also included a question on perceived influence of health status on sexual activity.
Results Mean (SD) age in the 411 assessed patients, (66.6% men, 33.4% women), was 44.1 (13.9) years and disease duration 16.9 (11.8) years. In the patient cohort 89.8% were HLA-B27 positive, 45.0% reported to be ever users of biologics, 92.7% NSAID and 19.7% to be ever user of DMARD. Mean (SD) values was 3.2 (2.1) for BASDAI, 2.8 (2.2) for BASFI, 3.9 (2.5) for BAS-G, 2.5 (2.0) for BASMI, 0.56 (0.49) for HAQ, 13.7 (12.8) mm/hr for ESR and 8.4 (11.4) mg/l for CRP.
82% reported to have a partner with whom they currently had sex with and 75.8% were reporting to be married or cohabitant. As shown in the table 83% reported their health status to have no or little impact on their sexual activity. A statistically significant (p<0.05) gender difference was observed where 85.3% men and 78.4% women reported no or little impact on their sexuality.
Conclusions In contrast to what has been reported for RA (1/3) less than 1/5 of the AS patients reported their health status to have considerable influence on their sexual activity. Differences in gender distribution and age may partly explain these differences.
Helland Y, Dagfinrud H, Kvien TK. Perceived influence of health status on sexual activity in RA patients: associations with demographic and disease-related variables. Scand J Rheumatol. 2008 May-Jun;37(3):194-9
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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