Autoimmune Disease, Sexual Relationships, and Pregnancy

Sexual Relationships

Sexual relationships can also be affected for people living with autoimmune diseases. For men, diseases that affect blood vessels can lead to problems with erection. In women, damage to glands that produce moisture can lead to vaginal dryness, which can make intercourse painful. Other ways in which sexual relationships can be affected include:
  • Pain, weakness, or stiff joints may make it hard for people to move the way they once did
  • People who are living with an autoimmune disease may be afraid that their partner will no longer find them attractive.
However, with communication, good medical care, and perhaps counseling, many of these issues can be overcome -- or at least worked around.

Pregnancy and Childbearing

In the past, women with some autoimmune diseases were told not to have children. However, better treatments and understanding of these diseases have changed that advice. Although autoimmune diseases can affect pregnancy, and pregnancy can affect autoimmune diseases, most women can safely have children. However, it is important for women who are living with an autoimmune disease and who wish to get pregnant to talk with their doctor.
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