One of life’s great pleasures is being physically intimate with another person, yet this is not an option/significantly reduced for many of those with HS. Given the fact that HS primarily affects the private parts of the body, and that HS has a negative effect on body image in those with HS, intuitively you suspect there could be a problem for those with HS having intimate relationships with others. In recent years researchers have begun examining this.
In a (freely available) paper in a recent issue of the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, a team of Canadian researchers examine the issue of sexual health in those with HS. The study by Alavi et al. (2018) looks at sexual health and intimacy in 50 patients with HS and compared it to 50 controls. The research found that both male and female patients with HS experienced a negative impact on quality of life and that sexual dysfunction is an important contributor to this impaired quality of life. The journal felt the paper was significant, so much so that they ran an editorial on it, written by world-renowned HS expert, Prof. Dr. Gregor Jemec (Jemec 2018).
This study by Alavi et al. work builds on the findings of previous studies to examine sexual health in those with HS. Kurek et al. (2012) found that those with HS have higher sexual dysfunctions and sexual distress in comparison with matched control subjects in a study involving 45 females and 40 males in Germany. Sexual distress was particularly higher in female than in male patients. Similarly, in a Dutch study involving 300 participants, Janse et al. (2017) found a diminished quality of life and sexual health in those with HS.
All these studies recommend that physicians treating those with HS pay close attention to the quality of life and sexual health of their patients. Those of us with HS could speak up and highlight this important aspect of our health to those trusted with taking care of us.
Has HS impacted on your quality of life and sexual health?
Has your physician recommended counselling or offered psychological support?
Alavi, A., Farzanfar, D., Rogalska, T., Lowes, M.A. & Chavoshi, S, (2018) ‘Quality of life and sexual health in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa’, International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, [online], available at: doi: 10.1016/j.ijwd.2017.10.007 [accessed 20 May 2018].
Janse, I.C., Deckers, I.E., van der Maten, A.D., Evers, A.W.M., Boer, J., van der Zee, H.H., Prens, E.P. & Horvath, B. (2017) ‘Sexual health and quality of life are impaired in hidradenitis suppurativa: a multicentre cross-sectional study’, British Journal of Dermatology, 176(4),1042–1047.available at: doi: 10.1111/bjd.14975 [accessed 20 May 2018].
Jemec, G.B. (2018) ‘Hidradenitis suppurativa and intimacy’, International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, [online], available at: doi: 10.1016/j.ijwd.2018.03.001 [accessed 20 May 2018].
Kurek, A., Peters, E.M., Changwangpong, A., Sabat, R., Sterry, W., & Schneider-Burrus, S (2012) ‘Profound disturbances of sexual health in patients with acne inversa’, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 67(3),422–428, available at: doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.10.024 [accessed 20 May 2018]
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