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Sexual dysfunction and its determinants in Moroccan women with rheumatoid arthritis

Dina Khnaba
Samira Rostom
Racha Lahlou
Rachid Bahiri
Redouane Abouqal
Najia Hajjaj-Hassouni


Introduction: To assess the prevalence of sexual dysfunction in married women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and compare it with a control group and to determine its association with clinical and disease activity factors. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study including sixty married women with a confirmed diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/ European League against Rheumatism (EULAR) 2010 Criteria, aged 18 or over and having sexual activity. Our controls were healthy volunteers women matched for age. Clinical and sociodemographic characteristics were collected. Sexual function was assessed by a self-reported questionnaire the index of female sexual function (FSFI). Sociodemographic and disease activity profiles were compared between those who had and did not have sexual dysfunction. Results: The prevalence of female sexual dysfunction in women with rheumatoid arthritis attending El Ayachi hospital was 71.9%, it was 54% in controls. There was a significant difference in the total FSFI score between patients 18.29±9.09 and controls 23.05±7.91 (p=0.016). We found a statistically significant difference between the two groups in almost all dimensions of sexual function (desire, arousal, orgasm, satisfaction), except for pain and lubrication. In multivariate analysis, pain assessed by visual analogue scale (VAS) and depression assessed by hospital anxiety and depression score (HAD) were the independent determinants of sexual dysfunction. Conclusion: Our study suggests that sexual dysfunction is more common among patients with RA compared to controls. These dysfunctions were related to desire, arousal, orgasm and satisfaction. Pain and depression appear to be the most important predictors of sexual dysfunction.

Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 24

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eISSN: 1937-8688