Female urinary incontinence and sexuality

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Vol. 43 (1): 20-28, January – February, 2017

doi: 10.1590/S1677-5538.IBJU.2016.0102


REVIEW ARTICLE

Renato Lains Mota 1

1 Departamento de Urologia, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental, EPE e Universidade Lusófona de Lisboa, Portugal

ABSTRACT

Urinary incontinence is a common problem among women and it is estimated that between 15 and 55% of them complain of lower urinary symptoms. The most preva­lent form of urinary incontinence is associated with stress, followed by mixed urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence. It is a symptom with several effects on quality of life of women mainly in their social, familiar and sexual domains. Female reproductive and urinary systems share anatomical structures, which promotes that urinary problems interfere with sexual function in females.

This article is a review of both the concepts of female urinary incontinence and its im­pact on global and sexual quality of life. Nowadays, it is assumed that urinary inconti­nence, especially urge urinary incontinence, promotes anxiety and several self-esteem damages in women. The odour and the fear of incontinence during sexual intercourse affect female sexual function and this is related with the unpredictability and the chro­nicity of incontinence, namely urge urinary incontinence.

Female urinary incontinence management involves conservative (pelvic floor muscle training), surgical and pharmacological treatment. Both conservative and surgical treatments have been studied about its benefit in urinary incontinence and also the im­pact among female sexual function. Unfortunately, there are sparse articles that evalu­ate the benefits of female sexual function with drug management of incontinence.

Keywords:  Urinary Incontinence; Sexuality; Quality of Life

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