Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation Patient Information Sheet: Sex and Sjogren's

The Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation has created yet another excellent patient education sheet:

Patient Education Sheet
Sex and Sjogren's

The SSF thanks Anne E. Burke, MD, MPH for authoring this Patient Education Sheet. Dr. Burke is an Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Sjogren's syndrome (SS) can affect women's sexuality, but even with the presence of SS, women and their partners can enjoy sexual activity and maintain a state of sexual well-being.

Vaginal dryness. Women with SS often experience vaginal dryness.

What you can do about it:
  • Some over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers may help relieve vaginal dryness. For example, Replens contains a compound called polycarbophil, Luvena contains prebiotics and Feminease contains Yerba Santa.
  • Lubricants, such as K-Y jelly or Astroglide, may help increase lubrication for intercourse.
  • Vaginal estrogen (hormones) may be right for some women. This can come in cream, ring or pill form.
  • Try different techniques to make sex more comfortable, such as more foreplay.

Pelvic pain/pain with intercourse. Pelvic pain can have many causes, including SS, pudendal neuropathy, and interstitial cystitis.

What you can do about it:
  • See your health care provider (Gyn/Urologist) 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.
  • Some women will benefit from pelvic physical therapy. Your health care provider may be able to refer you to a physical therapist with pelvic floor expertise. 

Fatigue and mood symptoms. Fatigue, chronic pain and depression can contribute to the day challenge of living with a chronic illness and affect sexual desire and function.

What you can do about it:
  • Tell your health care provider if you are feeling depressed. Treating depression may help to improve problems with sexual function.
  • Recognize that some antidepressant medications may contribute to sexual symptoms and dryness. Discuss this with your provider. 
  • Take care of your Sjogren's and make time for yourself and things you enjoy.
  • Remember that fatigue and chronic pain can affect a woman's sex life. Be open with your partner about your experience and needs and work together for satisfying intimacy. 

For more information on Sjogren's syndrome contact the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation at: 6707 Democracy Blvd, Suite 325, Bethesda, MD 20817  800-475-6473  www.sjogren'  ssf@sjogren' 


Leslie at SugarAndSpiceADK. said...

when I was having my workup at Johns Hopkins, the gyno. there prescribed estrogen, in a cream form. It has worked wonders for me!

Suzan said...

My Gyn. prescribed me Premarin (Cream) for my vaginal dryness. It has been great for both my Sjogren's and Menopause.

Anne said...

Used Me Again's vaginal moisturizer for years. Then the woman owned company stopped making it. The first compounding pharmacy did a miserable job of replicating the creme - which contains hyaluronic acid. Technician compounded with the wrong aloe vera and it literally turned into carbolic acid. Yikes! Owner confirmed the creation of carbolic acid.
Second compounding pharmacy has done a great job of replicating the Me Again concoction. None of the OTC cremes/moisturizers worked for me.