There are two types, “wear and tear” kinds such as osteoarthritis, and rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Lupus. Rheumatic diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints. These are often age-related diseases, but not always. Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, for those suffering such diseases are fairly common.
Now, a new study shows that those with a rheumatic disease that also suffer from mental health disorders are likely to develop erectile dysfunction (ED). In fact, the two together can be an indicator of the third. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece conducted the study. 509 participants took part. They had a median age of 54, 423 were female, and 86 were male.
Each patient was then assessed for anxiety and depression. 69.9% experienced sexual dysfunction, and of these 37% had anxiety and 22% had depression. There was a strong negative correlation between these two mental health disorders and a negative IIEF score, researchers found. Those with depressive symptoms had similarly low IIEF scores.
“Mental distress and sexual dysfunction are extremely common in rheumatologic patients.” They added, “Sexual dysfunction is significantly associated with anxiety and depression in both men and women and may be independently predicted by their presence in this group of patients.” Researchers concluded, “Physicians dealing with rheumatologic patients should be aware of these results and incorporate screening and treatment of the above comorbidities in the global assessment of their patients.”
If you have a rheumatic disease, get screened for ED, anxiety, and depression. It may just save your love life.