Sexual dysfunction prevalent in women with rheumatoid arthritis
Sexual dysfunction appears to be common among female patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and affects all subdomains of sexual function, reports a study. However, female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is most likely undervalued in daily clinical practice.
“Of note, FSD could not be linked to disability or RA disease activity,” the investigators said.
Questionnaires were distributed to 319 patients and 306 healthy controls. Of these, only 203 and 169 were completed, respectively.
There were significantly more RA patients with a total Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire-short form (CSFQ-14) score of ≤41, indicating FSD, as compared to healthy controls (47.8 percent vs 14.2 percent; p<0.0001). RA patients had lower median CSFQ-14 score than healthy controls (42 vs 49 points; p<0.0001), resulting in an odds ratio (OR) of 5.53 (95 percent CI, 3.19–9.57; p<0.0001).
The OR for FSD in RA patients remained at 3.04 (1.61–5.75; p=0.001) after adjustment for confounders, given a higher mean age of patients than healthy controls (55.2 vs 47.4 years; p<0.0001). In addition, neither the Health Assessment Questionnaire–Disability Index nor the Clinical Disease Activity Index correlated with FSD after adjustment.
In this study, the investigators evaluated the effect of RA on impairing women’s sexuality in terms of motivation, activity and satisfaction, and analysed the correlation of disease-related physical impairment within sexual functioning. An anonymous survey was carried out among women with RA and healthy controls using standardized questionnaires, predominantly the CSFQ-14. The investigators also assessed disease activity, depression and disability.