Living with a chronic illness, like Sjögren’s, can have physical and emotional affects on a woman's sexuality. However, even with the presence of Sjögren’s, women and their partners can enjoy sexual activity and maintain a state of sexual well being. Be open with your partner about your needs and work together for satisfying intimacy.
Below are the three main reasons of how Sjögren’s can affect a woman's sexuality and tips to help.
Vaginal dryness. Women with Sjögren’s often experience severe vaginal dryness.
- Vaginal moisturizers are available for daily use and lubricants can be used during intercourse.
- Vaginal estrogen (hormones) may be right for some women.
Pain. Pelvic pain and pain during intercourse, can have many causes, including Sjögren’s, pudendal neuropathy, and interstitial cystitis.
- See your health care provider for an evaluation of why you have pelvic pain. There may not be an “easy” answer, but in many cases a possible cause can be identified and treated.
- Treating vaginal dryness may improve some pelvic pain.
Fatigue & mood symptoms. Fatigue, chronic pain and depression can contribute to the daily challenge of living with a chronic illness and affect sexual desire and function.
- Tell your health care provider if you are feeling depressed. Treating depression may help to improve problems with sexual function.
- Take care of your Sjögren’s and make time for yourself and things you enjoy.
This information is from the SSF Patient Education Sheet: Sex and Sjögren’s by Anne E. Burke, MD, MPH