Background Sexuality is an important dimension of personality and human body, therefore any involvement in this area should be considered as important. Sexual disturbances in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients are poorly described in literature. On the other hand, there are predisposing, precipitating and maintenance factors for sexual disturbances in patients with RA.
Objectives The aim of this study using CIE-10 was to describe different type of factors that may influence the prevalence and worsening of sexual disturbances in patients with RA.
Methods A descriptive cross-sectional study was performed in a specialized clinic dedicated to Ra patients care. Patients seen by the area of psychology, information was collected through semi-structured interviews and non-probability sampling. Descriptive epidemiology was done, using averages and percentages for categorical and qualitative variables; and Pearson's statistics for bi-variated analysis.
Results The total sample of patients was 349, 279 (79.9%) were women and 70 (20.0%) were men, average DAS28-2.46. Average age is 58.1 years. 146 (52.3%) of women reported no sexual activity, while 133 (47.6%) report sexual activity. 18 (25.7%) of men reported no sexual activity, while 54 (70.2%) report sexual activity.
Precipitating factors in women: 26 (9.3%) infidelity, 17 (6.0%) anxiety about sexual performance, 36 (12.9%) loss of attraction, 35 (12.5%) alteration of self-image. while in men: 19 (27.1%) insecurity in sexual male role, 12 (30.7%) loss of attraction, 4 (5.7%) infidelity, 4 (5.7%) alteration of self-image.
Predisposing factors in women: 73 (26.1%) biological causes, 36 (12.9%) infidelity, 19 (6.8%) poor or inadequate information, 13 (4.6%) insecurity about sexual performance, while in men 13 (18.5%) biological causes, 5 (7.1%) infidelity, 5 (7.1%) poor or inadequate information, 11 (15.7%) insecurity about sexual performance.
Maintenance factors in women: 61 (21.8%) biological causes, 42 (15.0%) general alteration of couple relationship, 19 (6.8%) depression and anxiety, 18 (6.4%) infidelity, 2 (0.7%) partner's sexual dysfunction, while in men: 16 (22.8%) general alteration of couple relationship, 14 (20%) biological causes, 12 (17.1%) anxiety about sexual performance.
It was not established a correlation between precipitating, predisposing or maintenance factors and RA disease activity.
Conclusions According to these findings sexual disorders are present in a half of patients with RA both men and women. There are many factors that may influence the prevalence and worsening of sexual disturbances. However sexual disturbances do not affect disease activity, but quality of life probably is very affected.
Disclosure of Interest : None declared