Sexual Health Q&A

How does rheumatoid arthritis affect sexual function?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease that can cause joint pain and inflammation all over the body. Most people with RA experience pain, swelling, and a limited range of motion.

RA affects sexual function in a number of ways. For example, many men with RA develop erectile dysfunction, possibly because of inflammation in the penile blood vessels.

Women with RA may experience problems with arousal, orgasm, and overall sexual satisfaction.

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect sex in other ways, too. Depression and anxiety associated with RA can interfere with sex drive. Men and women with RA may be too fatigued to have sex.  Or, sex may be too physically painful.