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Unspoken and Undiagnosed: Addressing Sex and Intimacy Issues in Rheumatic Disease

Unspoken and Undiagnosed: Addressing Sex and Intimacy Issues in Rheumatic Disease
Healio Rheumatology, June 2017

Sexual dysfunction and intimacy issues may rank high among the complaints reported by patients with rheumatic diseases, but these complaints often remain unaddressed in the clinical setting, for several reasons. Poor communication between physicians and patients is the most likely explanation, along with poor communication between patients and their partners. However, the reasons for this communication gap, which may range from stigma to time constraints in the clinic, are up for debate.

Ara H. Dikranian, MD, a rheumatologist at the Cabrillo Center for Rheumatic Disease, discussed the parameters of the discussion in an interview with Healio Rheumatology. “A couple of years ago, I noticed a disconnect between objective measures of disease activity, like scores and indices, and the overall satisfaction of patients,” he said. “The disconnect seemed to come from various places, but one area was in the personal lives of patients. Specifically, their relationships and the intimacy of those relationships.”

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