Session Title: Clinical Practice/Patient Care
Session Type: Abstract Submissions (ARHP)
Sexual function is a major component of wellbeing and is adversely affected by many disease states. Previous studies have demonstrated various aspects of sexual dysfunction among rheumatological patients. These may include reduced libido, pain upon intercourse (dysparunia) and erectile dysfunction; tenderness, limitations of range of motion and depression may have a compounding negative effect. In a previous study we have demonstrated aspects of sexual dysfunction found among fibromyalgia patients. The aim of the current preliminary study was to evaluate aspects of sexual dysfunction among rheumatological patients. We also wished to evaluate the needs of rheumatological patients vis-à-vis sexological counseling, in order to assess the need for establishing a reproductive health clinic at our rheumatology center and design future interventions in this field. A similar approach has been previously used for evaluation the needs of cancer patients.
Patients: patients were recruited among those attending the rheumatology clinic at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center from a broad range of rheumatological diagnoses. Participants filled out the following questionnaires:
- A demographic questionnaire
- Self-report Sexual questionnaire which was translated into Hebrew and adapted for the needs of the patients at the rheumatology institute-. This questionnaire included questions regarding common domains of sexual dysfunction, including decreased libido, difficulty achieving arousal, difficulty in achieving an erection (males) or vaginal dryness (females) pain during intercourse, difficulty in achieving an orgasm, and feeling unattractive sexually.
Forty three patients were recruited, (8 males and 35 females). The most frequent age group of the patients was 41-50.
Diagnoses included Rheumatoid arthritis (50%), Osteoarthritis (3.2%), Fibromyalgia (13%), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (3.2%) Psoriatic arthritis (13%), Other. 31% reported being currently active sexually.
41 % expressed interest in receiving attention for their sexual issues by the attending rheumatologist and 19% would be interested in receiving specialized sexual consultation with their partner, in the context of the rheumatology follow up.
Among female patients, 25.7% reported a decrease in libido. 17.1% reported pain during sexual intercourse and 17.1% reported difficulty achieving sexual arousal. 14.3% reported vaginal dryness and a decrease sense of attractiveness respectively. 11.4% reported difficulty in achieving an orgasm.
Sexual dysfunction is highly prevalent among rheumatology patients. While not routinely evaluated in clinical practice, this issue appears to be pertinent for many patients who also express interest in receiving specific advice and treatment, as part of their rheumatological follow up. Rheumatological health care providers should be aware of this important aspect of the quality of life of their patients and should feel comfortable about raising the topic during the course of follow up. Further research is warranted into the specific causes of sexual dysfunction in various rheumatological populations and regarding the optimal treatment of these problems.
S. Nesher Peleg,
J. N. Ablin,
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ACR Meeting Abstracts - https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/needs-assessment-survey-evaluation-of-sexual-dysfunction-among-patients-at-a-tertiary-rheumatology-clinic/