Background Axial spondyloarthritis (ax-SpA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder causing signs and symptoms from the axial skeleton, but may also affect peripheral joints, tendons and internal organs. Ax-SpA may give rise to significant loss of function and impaired quality of life. Despite the known importance of sexuality as part of quality of life (Healey 2009), only a few studies have explored sexuality in ax-SpA patients.
Objectives To investigate the association between sosiodemograpic data and perceived health status on sexual activity in patients with ax-SpA.
Methods Patients with ax-SpA (fulfilling the axial SpA criteria) were consecutively recruited from one clinic in southern and one clinic in eastern Norway. A broad specter of data was collected including demographics, clinical data, and quality of life data including 15D. 15D also contains the question addressing the impact of health on sexual activity with the following response options: My state of health: 1. has no adverse effect on my sexual activity; 2. has a slight effect on my sexual activity; 3. has a considerable effect on my sexual activity: 4. makes sexual activity almost impossible and 5 makes sexual activity impossible. We dichotomized the sexuality question with 5 answers into two groups. Answer 1 and 2 into no or little impact and the answer 3-5 into large impact. Appropriate statistical tests were applied including descriptive and group comparison.
Results Patients characteristics: Mean (SD) age in the 389 prospectively assessed patients was 46.8 (22.7) yrs and weight was 82.9 (17.4) kg, 66.5% were men, 27.9% were current smoker, 72.3 were at work, 75.5% were married or lived together and 50.8% exercised >3 hrs per week, 34.7% exercised 1-3 hrs per week. Disease duration was in median [IQR] 12.4 [18.5] yrs and 89.9% were HLA-B27+. For disease measures BASDAI was 3.2 (2.1), BASFI 2.7 (2.2), BAS-G 3.9 (2.6), BASMI 2.4 (2.0), HAQ 0.56 (0.49), ESR 14.1 (12.9) mm/hr and median CRP 4.0 [2.6] mg/dl. Current user of NSAIDs was 44.0%, DMARDs 4.9% and biologics 22.6%. In the table the association between selected sociodemographic characteristics and perceived health status on sexual activity is displayed.
Conclusions Our data reveal that female gender, current smoking, physical activity and work, were associated with a negative effect on perceived health status on sexuality, whereas living together had no influence. This indicates that sosiodemographic factors are important to adjust for when exploring the impact of the ax-SpA disease on sexuality.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared