Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 63,
November 2011 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Chicago, Illinois November 4-9, 2011.

Sexual Problems and Sexual Perception in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Proven1,  Anne, Berg2,  Kari H., Almas3,  Elsa, Benestad4,  Espen E., Haugeberg5,  Glenn

MD, Baerum, Norway
MA, Kristiansand.S, Norway
MA, Kristiansand, Norway
MD, Kristiansand, Norway
MD, PhD, Kristiansand.S, Norway


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic, systemic inflammatory rheumatic disease which most frequently affects the axial skeleton, but may also affect peripheral joints, tendons and internal organs. This disease which begins in the second or third decade may give rise to significant loss of function and impaired quality of life. Despite the importance of sexuality as part of quality of life, only a few studies have explored this important issue in AS patients. We therefore wanted to explore sexuality in patients with AS in regard to how satisfied they are with their sexual life and whether the patients think their sexuality is influenced by the disease.


This is a prospective, cross sectional study were patients with established AS seen in the outpatient clinic in three hospitals in the southern and eastern part of Norway, were asked to participate. A broad specter of demographic, clinical data, quality of life data, also including a general questionnaire on sexuality, was collected.


At the end of 2008 105 patients had been included. The patient cohort contained of 66.7% men and 96.1% were HLA-B27 positive. The mean (SD) values for age was 46.2 (14.9) years and disease duration 15.5 (10.6) years. 23.8% patients were current users of biologics and 42.9% were current users of NSAIDs. Mean (SD) values was 3.3 (2.0) for BASDAI, 2.9 (2.2) for BASFI, 3.8 (2.4) for BAS-G, 2.6 (2.0) for BASMI and 0.58 (0.50) for HAQ. For ESR and CRP the mean values were 14.1 (14.5) mm/hr and 9.0 (11.2) mg/l, respectively.

On the sexuality scores 60.4% patients reported sex and sexuality important/very important to be satisfied with their daily life. 31.7% reported sexuality less important and only 7.6% thought sexuality was not important. 48.5% were satisfied/very satisfied with their sexual life while 29.3% were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and 22.3% were dissatisfied. 49.5% reported to have had problems with their sexuality, however only 13% of the 105 patients had been seeking help to solve the problems. 32.4% of the patients thought their sexual problems were related to their disease, 11.4% in very high degree and 21% in some degree. The main causes of sexual problems from the disease were tiredness in 31.4%, stiffness in 30.5% and pain in 31.4%.


In this study of 105 patients with AS, as many as 49,5% reported to have had sexual problems, and 32,4% thought their sexual problems were related to their AS. The main causes of sexual problems were tiredness, stiffness and pain. We think the number of patients reporting sexual problems was high in this group since disease activity scores and health activity scores in this group was only modest high. More studies are needed to illuminate how sexual life is influenced by AS.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Proven, Anne, Berg, Kari H., Almas, Elsa, Benestad, Espen E., Haugeberg, Glenn; Sexual Problems and Sexual Perception in Patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2011;63 Suppl 10 :2559C

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