Zahra Behboodi MOGHADAM1, Seyedeh Tahereh FAEZI2, Armin ZAREIAN3, Elham REZAEI4

1Department of Reproductive Health, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2Department of Rheumatology Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences Tehran, Iran
3Department of Public Health, Nursing Faculty, Aja University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Reproductive Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Urmia, Iran

Keywords: Females, qualitative study, systemic lupus erythematosus

Abstract

Objectives: This study aims to explore the perceptions, concerns, expectations, and viewpoints of female patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) regarding reproductive health in Iran.

Patients and methods: This qualitative research was conducted using 27 semi-structured deep interviews with 19 married female patients (mean age 37.4±7.0 years; range, 15 to 49 years) suffering from SLE selected through purposive sampling in the Rheumatology Center of Shariati Hospital, Tehran, Iran between August 2017 and March 2018.

Results: Patients’ perceptions were classified into six categories and 14 subcategories: physical suffering (debilitating pain, gradual disability, and apparent transformation), psychological stress (family disturbance and sexual dissatisfaction), challenging fertility (bothersome pregnancy and impaired parenting), adaptation to the disease (self-care and lifestyle modification), need for a supporter (support from the spouse, support from the family and acquaintances, and lack of occupational and social support), and spirituality (forgiveness of sins and resorting to God).

Conclusion: The findings clearly suggested the negative effects of SLE on the reproductive health of these patients. This study emphasized the importance of care and support for female patients with SLE. We hope that this research enhances the awareness of care providers about physical, sexual, psychological, social, and spiritual factors, since taking care of these patients requires strategic and multidisciplinary management.