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Rheumatoid arthritis leads to sexual dysfunction in females

Rheumatoid arthritis leads to sexual dysfunction in females

A new of its kind study published in The Journal of Rheumatology reveals that female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is highly prevalent in female patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis which affects all subdomains of sexual function.

Rudolf Puchner et al. conducted a cross-sectional study to evaluate the effect of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on impairing women’s sexuality regarding motivation, activity, and satisfaction, and to assess the correlation of disease-related physical impairment within sexual functioning.

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The researchers conducted surveys that included the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire-short form (CSFQ-14) to patients with RA (n=203) and healthy controls(HC) (n=169). Additional demographic and clinical variables were also assessed, including scores on The Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index and the Clinical Disease Activity Index. Patients with RA had a mean age of 55.2 years, compared with 47.4 years for controls.

The key study findings included are:

  • Of the patients with RA, 47.8% had a total CSFQ-14 score of ≤ 41, indicating female sexual dysfunction (FSD), as compared to 14.2% of HC.
  • The median CSFQ-14 score was lower in patients with RA than in HC resulting in an OR of 5.53.
  • After adjustment for confounders, given a higher mean age of patients (55.2) than HC (47.4), the OR for FSD in patients with RA was still 3.04.
  • Neither the Health Assessment Questionnaire–Disability Index nor the Clinical Disease Activity Index was associated with FSD after adjustment.

The study concluded that female sexual dysfunction apparently is highly prevalent in female patients with RA, affects all subdomains of sexual function, and is most likely underestimated in daily clinical practice.

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Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own tissues. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.

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Source: With inputs from The Journal of Rheumatology

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