The impact of Sjӧgren’s syndrome on the quality of sexual life of female patients in the UK: a controlled analysis
MetadataShow full item record
Sexual functionPrimary Sjӧgren’s syndromeDyspareuniaVaginal drynessQuality of lifeFatigue
Al-Ezzi, M., Tappuni, A. R., & Khan, K. S. (2021). The impact of Sjӧgren’s syndrome on the quality of sexual life of female patients in the UK: a controlled analysis. Rheumatology International, 1-7. [https://doi.org/10.1007/s00296-021-04830-6]
SponsorshipMinistry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq
Mucosal dryness and dyspareunia are symptoms that may significantly affect women with primary Sjӧgren syndrome (pSS). We investigated whether vaginal dryness is correlated with sexual function, and the impact may have on the quality of life (QoL) and mental health well-being in pSS patients. Ethically approved comparative cross-sectional study was designed to assess sexual function using the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) in 65 pSS female patients vs 62 sex-matched controls. The effect of vaginal dryness and fatigue on sexual function was investigated. Vaginal dryness was correlated with oral dryness estimated by salivary flow rate and the Clinical Oral Dryness Score to investigate whether genital dryness is indicative of general mucosal dryness in pSS. Validated questionnaires were used to investigate the effect of sexual function on QoL and mental health well-being. The number of sexually active pSS participants was significantly less than in the control group (28/65 vs 42/62, p < 0.05). The sexual function was significantly impaired in the pSS group (mean FSFI = 19 vs 28.3, p < 0.05). There was no significant association between self-reported vaginal dryness and oral dryness or sexual function. The open-ended questions showed that the most troublesome symptom reported by pSS patients was oral dryness (43%, n = 28/65) followed by fatigue (31%, n = 20/65). Sexual dysfunction had a negative impact on QoL and the mental health well-being of pSS patients in all aspects, especially on the quality of social life (β = 0.7, p = 0.02). Addressing sexual dysfunction can potentially improve the QoL of pSS patients significantly, especially their social well-being.