The impact of urinary incontinence on female sexual function

Adv Ther. Nov-Dec 2006;23(6):999-1008. doi: 10.1007/BF02850220.


Although urinary incontinence is not a life-threatening disorder, it has been shown to have detrimental effects on quality of life in terms of psychological, social, and sexual problems. In this study, investigators explored the effects of different types of urinary incontinence on female sexual function with a reliable and validated questionnaire, the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). One hundred fifty-three women with complaints of incontinence were enrolled in the study. An age-matched group of 89 women who had no incontinence or lower urinary tract disorders were enrolled as a control group; all completed the FSFI. Incontinence was classified as urge, stress, and mixed type. Pelvic organ prolapse (POP), if present, was also recorded. FSFI scores were compared between the incontinent and control groups. A multivariate linear regression analysis model was used to explore the effects of patient characteristics on total FSFI domain score. All domain scores of FSFI except lubrication and pain were statistically significant in the incontinence group (for total domain score, P=.005). For FSFI, in terms of types of incontinence, the difference was significant when the group with mixed urinary incontinence was compared with the control group. In multivariate linear regression analysis, age, presence of POP, and mode of delivery were predictors of female sexual function. Mixed urinary incontinence, when compared with other types, had a significant impact on sexual function. When POP was also present, no negative effects were noted in incontinent women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Incontinence / complications*
  • Uterine Prolapse / complications