Background Sexuality is an often neglected area in patients with rheumatic disease.
Objectives The aim of this study is to assess sexual functioning and quality of life in a group of married women with Systemic Sclerosis (SSc).
Methods This is a horizontal study for descriptive and analytical purposes. Married women with SSc were interviewed about their sexual functioning and their quality of life.
Results A total of ten patients who met the criteria have accepted to participate to the study. Their mean age was 52, 4±8,2 years. Eight women thought that the disease had affected their sexual activity. All patients reported a decrease in the frequency of intercourse since the onset of their disease. Eight of the sample reported a diminished desire for a sexual relationship. The reasons were fatigue, altered body image and pain. The assessment of sexual functioning using the Female sexual function index (FSFI) showed a mean FSFI score at 14,2±7,8 with nine women scoring in the range associated with sexual dysfunction (SD) (<26). All the subscales were affected. Our patients reported a mean total score on WHOQOL-brief (World Health Quality of Life-Brief Version) of 60 out of 120 indicating a moderate altered quality of life. Depression has been identified as determinants of impaired sexual function.
Conclusions The prevalence of SD in women with SSc is high when a specific questionnaire is used to assess it. These results indicate that in daily practice, inquiring about sexuality and screening for depressive symptoms is indicated for every patient with SSc.
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Acknowledgements We would like to thank all the participants.
Disclosure of Interest None declared