Quality of sexual life in women with primary Sjögren syndrome

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Objective. To assess the quality of sexual life of women with primary Sjögren syndrome (pSS) and to identify its correlations with disease activity and damage, quality of life, and mood disorders. Methods. The quality of sexual life of 24 women with pSS was assessed with the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Twenty-four healthy women, matched by age and hormonal status, were enrolled as controls. Mood disorders and quality of life were investigated using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36. Patients underwent a gynecological visit with vaginal pH measurement, cervicovaginal swabs, and Pap smears. Disease activity and damage were assessed by the European League Against Rheumatism Sjögren syndrome disease activity and damage indexes. Results. Patients with pSS showed a pathological mean FSFI score (19.1 ± 7.33) significantly different from controls (p = 0.004), both in menstruating women (p = 0.006) and in menopausal women (p = 0.03). Major differences between the 2 groups were detected in dyspareunia (p < 0.005), lubrication (p = 0.006), desire (p = 0.004), and arousal (p = 0.018). The FSFI score was inversely correlated with age (p = 0.008) and anxiety HADS (p = 0.031). No early anatomical changes, swabs, and Pap smear alterations were revealed in patients with pSS; however, vaginal pH was higher than normal in premenopausal patients (6.0 ± 0.77). Conclusion. Both premenopausal and postmenopausal women with pSS have a worse sexual quality of life. We reported a greater prevalence of dyspareunia that is statistically significant when compared with controls. The FSFI could be a useful tool to assess this topic, but has been neglected in the care of patients with pSS heretofore.




Priori, R., Minniti, A., Derme, M., Antonazzo, B., Brancatisano, F., Ghirini, S., … Framarino-Dei-Malatesta, M. (2015). Quality of sexual life in women with primary Sjögren syndrome. Journal of Rheumatology, 42(8), 1427–1431. https://doi.org/10.3899/jrheum.141475

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