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Sexual Problems are Common in People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Sexual Problems are Common in People with Rheumatoid Arthritis

It’s not unusual for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to have sexual problems.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s own immune system attacks healthy cells. As a result, inflammation can build in the joints, particularly in the hands, feet, wrists, ankles, and elbows. People with RA experience pain and, in some cases, irreversible joint damage.

Some of the more common sexual issues facing people with RA include low sex drive, pain during intercourse, orgasm difficulties, and premature ejaculation. Many patients do not feel satisfied with their sex life.

In June 2016, Dr. Pedro Santos-Moreno of the Biomab Centre for Rheumatoid Arthritis in Columbia presented the study’s findings at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress.

The goal of this research project was to learn more about the factors that contributed to the prevalence and worsening of sexual problems in people with RA.

Almost 1,300 people – 80% of them women – participated. The group’s average age was 55 years.

The study named a number of factors that could contribute to sexual dysfunction in people with RA. These included infidelity, insecurity in a sexual role, and changes in a couple’s relationship. Image changes, anxiety, and loss of attraction were also mentioned.

The researchers also noted that 40% of women and almost a third of the men were not sexually active.

Please click here to learn more about rheumatoid arthritis and sexuality.


American College of Rheumatology

Ruderman, Eric, MD, and Siddharth Tambar, MD

“Rheumatoid Arthritis”

(Updated: August 2013)

Arthritis Foundation

“What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?”

EULAR Press Office

“One-third of RA patients experience sexual dysfunction”

(Video presentation posted June 10, 2016)

European League Against Rheumatism

“One-third of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients Experience Sexual Dysfunction”

(Press release. June 10, 2016)