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.
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 and relationship with disease activity.
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; we used chi2 test to study a possible relationship between the level of disease activity with precipitating, predisposing and maintenance factors.
Results Total sample of patients was 1298, 1048 (80%) were women and 250 (19%) were men. Patients had a DAS28 2.6 in average ± 1.1; mean age was 55.1 ± 8.8 years; 451 (40%) women reported no sexual activity, while 627 (60%) reported sexual activity. 77 (31%) of men reported no sexual activity, while 173 (69%) reported sexual activity. 377 (36%) of women and 85 (34%) men referred to have any sexual disturbances (lack of sexual desire, non-satisfactory sexual life, dyspareunia, orgasmic dysfunction, premature ejaculation). The relationship between having a sexual disturbance and the disease activity was not statistically significant. precipitating factors: In women 110 (33%) manifested infidelity, 107 (32%) insecurity in sexual role, biological or physical causes 56 (17%) while in men 42 (16%) manifested insecurity in sexual role, 38 (15%) inadequate information, 15 (6%) infidelity, and 7 (3%) biological or physical causes. predisposing factors: Of those who had any predisposing factor, in woman 155 (14%) were related to image changes (14%), infidelity 135 (13%), anxiety 23 (2%) and loss of attraction 15 (1.4%), while in men 53 (21%) were related to image changes, 24 (10%) loss of attraction, 18 (7%) infidelity, and 5 (2%) anxiety. maintenance factors: In women, 120 (11%) reported maintenance factors related with biological causes followed by 100 (9%) infidelity, 93 (9%) general alteration of couple relationship, 37 (3%) partner's sexual dysfunction and 20 (1.9%) depression and anxiety; while in men, 47 (19%) general alteration of couple relationship followed by 39 (15%) reported maintenance factors related with biological causes, 14 (5%) depression and anxiety, 10 (4%) infidelity and 2 (0.8%) partner's sexual dysfunction. The relationship between precipitating, predisposing or maintenance factors and disease activity was not statistically significant.
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 the sexual disturbances do not affect disease activity.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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