6 Facts on RA and Your Relationship

The HealthCentral Editorial Team | Nov 29th 2012 Nov 13th 2016

1 of 7
1 of 7

Having rheumatoid arthritis can affect the sex lives of men and women in different ways, but these challenges are rarely talked about. Part of the problem is the lack of communication between patients and doctors about sex. Here are a few basic things to know.

2 of 7

Sexual health and women

According to a 2006 study that looked at sexual performance in female RA patients, contributors to sexual dysfunction include pain, reduced joint mobility, disease in the hips, disease activity, younger age, fatigue, depression, altered body image and diminished desire.

3 of 7

Sexual health and men

For men, perceived problems with sexual activity included higher levels of fatigue, mental distress, functional limitations and lower levels of self-efficacy.

4 of 7

Sexual health and relationships

In a survey of 57 RA patients, 35 percent thought their disease strained their relationship with their partner. Reasons for this include curtailment of daily and social activities, changes in the balance of the relationship, emotional changes, and changes in financial circumstances.

5 of 7

Relationships matter

In a 2000 study of patients and spouses, researchers found that they were generally satisfied with their marriages. Lower marital satisfaction was associated with passive coping styles, such as escape into fantasy and pointing blame at each other. In another study, it showed that  psychological distress and social support were more important than disease status when determining marital and sexual satisfaction.

6 of 7

Medications and sexual health

Both men and women are subject to potential sexual dysfunction due to methotrexate use.However, surveyed nurses felt that while contraceptive advice for patients treated with cytotoxic drugs was discussed in depth, the patient’s sexual relationship was not discussed at all.

7 of 7

Talking to your doctor

It is important to recognize all aspects of being a human which includes being a sexual human being. Bring up the topic.  Discuss sex with your rheumatologist and primary care physician.  Discuss how RA is affecting your ability to enjoy all aspects of living, including sexual activity.

NEXT: How to Make Your Office RA-Friendly
More on this topic

Cleaning Tips with RA

Marianna Paulson

Who Can Help with Your RA?

Leslie Rott

7 Exercises for People with RA

The HealthCentral Editorial Team

11 Frequently Asked Questions About RA

Lene Andersen

How to Stay Active with RA

Lene Andersen

How to Make Life Easier with RA

Allison Tsai

Healthy Diet and Exercise Plan with RA

Britt J Johnson

Cooking Doesn't Have to Suck with RA

Britt J Johnson

The Pursuit of Happiness with RA

Lene Andersen

Custom Orthotics Soothe RA Feet

Vanessa Collins

How to Find a Rheumatologist?

Lene Andersen

Which Doctor Do You Really Need?

Lene Andersen

Why You Need to Protect Your Kidneys

Lene Andersen

Practical Tips for Managing RA Pain

Britt J Johnson

Tired of Being Tired

Lene Andersen

Finding Support Online

Vanessa Collins

The Green Light to Better Health

Marianna Paulson

Adapting to Life with RA

Lene Andersen

Can You Work With RA?

Leslie Rott

Planning Your Future

Lene Andersen

"I'm Fine" (AKA I'm Most Definitely Not Fine)

Britt J Johnson

Early Signs of RA

Lisa Emrich

Friendly Health Habits and RA

Marianna Paulson

RA and Eye Health Complications

Lisa Emrich

Relationship Tips for RA

Lene Andersen

11 Tips for Getting Through The Work Day With RA

Marianna Paulson

5 Smoothies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D.

How to Make Your Office RA-Friendly

Anna Legassie

Fighting RA: One Woman's Story

Lene Andersen

Getting Support When Your Family Lives Far Away

Cathy Kramer

Buying A Car When You Have RA

Marianna Paulson

Dogs help you live a better life with RA

Cathy Kramer

Living with RA: Turning Points

Bridging the Gap: Living Well With RA

Are there gender differences in RA?

Lene Andersen

What People With RA Want You to Know

Lene Andersen

How to Practice Self-Care on Bad RA Day

Lene Andersen

What People with RA Should and Shouldn't Eat

Lene Andersen

Turmeric and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Lene Andersen

10 Reasons to Be Grateful for RA

Lene Andersen

Managing Your Money with RA

Lene Andersen

Best Ways to Manage RA Treatment Side Effects

Lene Andersen

Must-Read Tips for RA Hospital Stays

Marianna Paulson

10 Things That Make Life with RA Easier

Lene Andersen

Top 10 Challenges of RA the Invisible Illness

Leslie Rott

Self Care for the Holidays

Lene Andersen

Is Your RA Treatment Working?

Lene Andersen

Hot Weather and Pain

Anna Legassie