Gynecologic/Male Impotence and Sexual Functioning

Module: Scleroderma: Basic Overview

Elaine A. Furst, RN, MA, Janet L. Poole, Ph.D., OTR/L, Cindy Mendelson, PhD, RN, Dinesh Khanna, MD, MS

Also see Module on Sexuality and scleroderma.

Sexuality is an important part of a person’s self-image, and scleroderma, like any chronic disease, can affect sexuality. For example, vaginal dryness can result from coexisting Sjogren’s syndrome. Vaginal creams and lubricants can facilitate sexual activity. Tight skin and pain, however, often reduce desire and also cause difficulty attaining the sexual positions a couple may be used to. These problems can be addressed by exploring different positions, although people with scleroderma and their partners may benefit from counseling.

Men who have scleroderma may have difficulty maintaining an erection. This may be helped by medication, and they should discuss it with their physician and/or counselor.