The aim of this study was to determine the effects of improvements in urinary incontinence resulting from pelvic floor rehabilitation on the sexual function of patients. The study involved 42 clinic patients who received pelvic floor rehabilitation treatment. Their sexual histories were obtained through face-to-face interviews. Pelvic muscle strength was measured with a perineometer. Improvement in incontinence was measured with the pad test. Seventeen women reported decreased sexual desire before the treatment; 5 of these indicated improvement after treatment. Nine of 17 women who experienced dyspareunia prior to treatment reported an improvement afterwards, and four women reported complete relief from pain. Five of 15 women who complained of difficulty in reaching climax before the treatment experienced improvement in this area. In conclusion, an improvement in sexual desire, performance during coitus and achievement of orgasm were observed in women who received pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation. No change was seen in the arousal and resolution stages of sexual activity.
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Functional electrical stimulation
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This work was supported by the Research Fund of the University of Istanbul. Project number: B-572/17072000.
Editorial Comment: Previous studies suggest that the prevalence of sexual dysfunction is high amongst women with urinary incontinence. Some data exist about the effect of surgical treatment of urinary incontinence and its effect on sexual function. Data also exist that women with sexual dysfunction due to painful conditions improve with pelvic floor therapy. It could be expected that women with urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction show better overall improvement of both conditions when treated with pelvic floor therapy rather than with surgery. Patients in this study showed improvement in urinary incontinence with pelvic floor therapy. They also had a marked decrease in dyspareunia. Overall, there was improvement in sexual function, particularly an increase in desire. Unfortunately, the study does not address whether this improvement appears to be related to a decrease in incontinence, a decrease in pain with intercourse or an additive effect.
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Beji, N.K., Yalcin, O. & Erkan, H.A. The effect of pelvic floor training on sexual function of treated patients. Int Urogynecol J 14, 234–238 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-003-1071-2
- Pelvic floor rehabilitation
- Sexual function
- Urinary incontinence