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Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Female Sexual Dysfunction

Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Female Sexual Dysfunction

Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS) including stress and urge incontinence are age-related, progressive and extremely common in women. LUTS affect negatively not only the patient’s quality of life but also her sexual activity and its quality. Sexual desire and arousal are frequently associated with the fear of having an incontinence episode, urgency, or pain during intimacy, thus resulting in sexual anxiety. 

Those patients who underwent surgical or behavioral therapy report improved overall sexual satisfaction and that their symptoms less affected the ability to have sexual relations compared with pretreatment. On the other hand, impaired sexual function has been reported to be more prevalent in women who have interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). More than 70% of patients with interstitial cystitis responded that the disease had a detrimental effect on their sex lives. Majority of women with IC/BPS are often associated with vestibular pain, and often ameliorated with successful treatment of the vestibule.

In our questionnaire based study, frequency, urgency, and pelvic pain were correlated with vulvodynia and impaired sexual life. Sex steroid hormones are major contributing factors not only to female sexual activity but also to LUTS and IC/BPS. Loss of estrogen is closely associated with increasing prevalence of LUTS and sexual dysfunction and both the conditions are also closely correlated. IC/BPS is also known to be affected by the hormonal milieu of the women.

Speakers: Prof Hana Yoon