Inflammatory Arthritis Linked to Sexual Dysfunction

Themes of impaired sexual function, compromised intimate relationships ID’d in studies of IA patients

THURSDAY, April 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Sexual dysfunction appears to be highly prevalent in both men and women with inflammatory arthritis (IA), according to a review published online April 3 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Laura J. Restoux, from Curtin University in Perth, Australia, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to assess the impact of IA on intimate relationships and sexual function.

The researchers identified 55 eligible studies (89 percent quantitative, 7.2 percent qualitative, and 3.6 percent mixed-methods) that ranged from eight to 1,272 participants (age range, 20 to 69 years). Most quantitative studies were rated as having a moderate risk for bias (74 percent). Among studies reporting either the Female Sexual Function Index or the International Index of Erectile Function, all IA groups demonstrated mean scores indicating sexual dysfunction. Qualitative analysis identified themes of impaired sexual function and compromised intimate relationships, while prominent subthemes included IA-related pain and fatigue, erectile dysfunction, diminished sexual desire, and sexual function fluctuations according to disease activity.

“Sexual dysfunction appears highly prevalent amongst men and women with IA, and increased clinician awareness of this impairment may guide provision of tailored education and support,” the authors write.

The study received funding from UBC Australia and AbbVie Australia.

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