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Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2014 Apr-Jun;27(2):279-85.

Sexual distress, sexual dysfunction and relationship quality in women with systemic sclerosis: correlation with clinical variables.

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Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Clinical Medicine, Clinical Immunology Unit- Scleroderma Center, Italy.
U.O.C. Clinical Medicine and Rheumatology, Campus Bio-Medico University, Rome, Italy.


To assess the rate of sexual distress, sexual dysfunction and relationship quality and their association with clinical variables in women with systemic sclerosis (SSc), 102 sexually active women with SSc were recruited. Sexual distress, sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction with relationship quality were investigated by Female Sexual Distress Scale Revised (FSDS-R), Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS), respectively. The patients underwent medical examinations and nailfold videocapillaroscopy (NVC). Of the 102 patients, 37 (36&#x0025;) reported sexual distress with FSDS-R score >11, 45 (44&#x0025;) had sexual dysfunction with FSFI score <19 and 49 (48&#x0025;) were not satisfied with relationship quality with DAS score <100. There was a negative correlation (p<0.001, R= -0.30) between FSDS-R and FSFI. No correlation was found between FSDS-R and DAS. FSFI showed a positive correlation with DAS (p<0.0001, R= 0.36). Age correlated negatively (p<0.05, R= -0.26) with FSFI, while FSDS-R and DAS did not correlate (p>0.05) with age. SSc women with digital ulcers (DU) had a reduction of FSFI and DAS compared with women without DU. In patients with late capillaroscopic pattern, mean value of FSFI was significantly lower than the other two capillaroscopic patterns. DAS decreased with progression of capillaroscopic damage. In a high percentage of women with SSc FSDS-R was increased, while FSFI and DAS were reduced. Age correlated negatively with FSFI, while skin score showed a negative correlation with DAS. Digital vascular damage negatively influenced FSFI and DAS.

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