Studies repeatedly acknowledge that there are differences concerning the sexual health between women and men with RA, as noted in a literature review published in 2009 focused on the sexual health of women living with RA. Investigating areas categorized as general sexual problems, sexual satisfaction, sexual desire, sexual performance, and sexual functioning, researchers share that RA affects the sexual health of women as a result of pain, reduced joint mobility, fatigue, depression, and body image alterations. Very few solutions were offered in the literature with the most common being the need for increased information and communication, as well as physiotherapy.
Among 52 female RA patients who participated in a 2006 study, 62% reported difficulties in sexual performance, of whom 17% were totally unable to engage in sexual intercourse because of arthritis. Sexual desire or satisfaction were diminished in 46% of patients and completely lost in another 46%. Sexual disability correlated with disease activity, hip (but not knee) joint disease, seropositivity, and diminished desire. Pain, age, and depression were significant determinants for sexual dissatisfaction.
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RA and Sex: Relationships Matter