Aims: The primary aim of this study was to investigate whether a questionnaire developed for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) could also be used with patients who have fibromyalgia. A secondary aim was to assess the impact of fibromyalgia on sexuality.
Method: In the first of two phases the face and content validity of a sexuality questionnaire already being used in patients with RA were assessed in a qualitative, audio-taped, interview study of five patients with fibromyalgia.
The second phase consisted of a self-report questionnaire distributed to 60 patients with fibromyalgia.
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Findings: The interview data confirmed that the content of the RA sexuality questionnaire was relevant to patients with fibromyalgia. A total of 43 (72%) questionnaires were returned and, of these, 41 (95%) were usable.
Patients reported that fibromyalgia had altered their sexual relationship. They cited pain, stiffness, fatigue, reduced sexual drive and the impact of drug therapy as the main reasons.
Conclusions: The symptoms associated with fibromyalgia had a negative effect on sexual enjoyment. The questionnaire appears to be useful in addressing sexuality in patients with fibromyalgia.
Source: Nursing Standard, Sep 2008. 23(2):35-61. PMID: 18828292, by Ryan S, Hill J, Thwaites C, Dawes P. Haywood Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, UK. [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]