|Frequency of Sexual Dysfunction In Women With Rheumatic Diseases|
|Sunday, 07 July 2013 20:08|
Sexuality is part of human life and of quality of life, accounting for individual well-being. It relates not only to sexual intercourse itself, but also to a whole spectrum that ranges from self-image and self-valuing to relationship with the ‘Other’. Appropriate sexual activity comprises phases from sexual arousal to relaxation, with pleasure and satisfaction.
Sexual dysfunction is a change in a phase of the sexual activity that can culminate in frustration, pain, and a reduction in the number of sexual intercourses. Some studies have shown a prevalence of sexual dysfunction in the general female population of as much as 40%. Chronic diseases are known to influence the quality of sexual life, but their effect is little studied, and sexual dysfunction, little diagnosed. This is due to two reasons: patients do not report their sexual dysfunctions because of shame or frustration, and physicians rarely ask their patients about those dysfunctions.
When asked, health professionals allege to have little time for consultation, lack of privacy in their medical offices, and lack of ability to discuss the issue. In addition, patients tend to avoid speaking about that subject. Recently, the Association Nationale de Défense Contre l’Arthrite Rhumatoïde (French Association for Rheumatoid Arthritis) has sent, via e-mail, a questionnaire about sexuality to their members. Only 38% responded, and 70% reported a negative impact of the disease on their sexual life. Seventy-two per cent reported never having spoken with their physicians about sexuality.
Studies on the Brazilian population that could help to delineate the real impact of rheumatic diseases on sexual functioning still lack. Knowing the extension of the problem is necessary, so that therapeutic possibilities can be provided, because sexual dysfunction is one of the major determinants of reduced quality of life.
This study aimed at assessing the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in women followed up in the Rheumatology Outpatient Clinic of the Hospital Universitário de Brasília (HUB) and the Hospital das Clínicas of the Universidade de São Paulo (HC-FMUSP), who have the following rheumatic diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); rheumatoid arthritis (RA); systemic sclerosis (SSc); antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APLS); and fibromyalgia (FM).
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