Objectives The aim of this study is to evaluate the sexual functions in patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and to determine the relationships between sexual problems and disease activity as well as physical function.
Methods Atotal of 64 consecutive and unselected patients with AS who were referred to the Rheumatologic Rehabilitation Unit were included in this study. Patients completed a self-administered questionnaire on sexual activity. Disease activity and physical function were assessed with the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI) and the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Functional Index (BASFI), respectively. The BASDAI/BASFI scores in patients with and without sexual problems were compared with Mann-WhitneyU test.
Results Themean age of the patients was 37.5±8.4 (20-55) years, 85.9% (n=55) of the patients were male. 26.6% of patients mentioned that AS affected adverselytheir sexual life; and 34.4% of patients had physically limitations on sexual intercourse due to the AS. 42.2% of patients specified that during the exacerbation of AS, their sexual relationship was affected adversely. There was a decrease in sexual problems during the remission phase in 28.1% of the patients. Among the patients whose sexual life affected due to the AS, either the BASDAI (p=0.040) and the BASFI (p=0.016) scores were significantly high compared to those who did not affect. Furthermore, the patients who had physical problems during sexual intercourse, the BASDAI (p=0.004) and the BASFI (p=0.011) scores were significantly highcompared to those who did not have the physical problem.
Conclusions Thesefindings suggest that both disease activity and limitations in physical functioning are associated with sexual activity in patients with AS. Finally, in conjunction with treatment protocols, emphasis on the impact of AS on sexual functions, also any attempts to improve the physical functions and control the disease activity will increase the efficacy of medical care and rehabilitation programs in patients with AS.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared