Clinical determinants of vaginal dryness in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The majority of women with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) suffer from vaginal dryness, which negatively impacts daily and sexual activities. As little is known about the aetiology and clinical context of this complaint, this study investigated the relationship between vaginal dryness and other clinical parameters associated with pSS.

METHODS: Female participants of the REgistry of Sjögren syndrome at UMCG - LongiTudinal (RESULT) cohort who fulfilled ACR-EULAR and/or AECG classification criteria for pSS were included, using baseline data for analyses. Patient-reported vaginal dryness (range 0-10) was correlated with demographic characteristics, systemic disease activity (i.e., ESSDAI), Sjögren's Syndrome Disease Damage Index, salivary and lacrimal gland function, patient-reported outcomes (ESSPRI, MFI), serology and quality of life (SF-36, EQ-5D). Significantly associated parameters (p<0.05) were corrected for potential confounders.

RESULTS: This cross-sectional study included 199 women with pSS; mean age was 52±14 years, 53% were postmenopausal, and median vaginal dryness score was 5 (IQR 2-7). Vaginal dryness was significantly associated with older age, postmenopausal status, peripheral neuropathy, oral and ocular dryness, ESSPRI and SF-36 mental and general health. After correction for age, menopausal status and medication use, peripheral neuropathy (B=1.632), oral dryness (B=0.302), and ocular dryness (B=0.230) were independently associated with vaginal dryness.

CONCLUSIONS: The independent association of vaginal dryness with oral and ocular dryness might imply that the aetiology of these symptoms is partly shared. Of all extraglandular features, only peripheral neuropathy was independently associated with vaginal dryness, suggesting that peripheral neuropathy plays a significant role in the pathology of vaginal dryness in pSS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7-Oct-2021

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