Introduction: The relationship between sexual abuse and urinary tract symptoms, sexual abuse and gastrointestinal symptoms, or sexual abuse and sexual dysfunction has been described before. A correlation between all these symptoms and sexual abuse has not yet been reported.
Aims: The first aim of this study was to document the prevalence rates of reported sexual abuse in a large sample of female patients with complaints of the pelvic floor. The second aim was to evaluate the frequency of complaints in the different domains of the pelvic floor, such as complaints of micturition, defecation, and sexual function, in female patients reporting sexual abuse, and comparing these data with female patients without a history of sexual abuse.
Methods: Female patients with pelvic floor complaints were evaluated in a tertiary referral center. History taking was assessed by a pelvic-floor clinician. The number of domains with complaints of patients with a history of sexual abuse was compared with the number of domains with complaints of patients without sexual abuse.
Main outcome measures: The number of patients who reported sexual abuse and the frequency of complaints in the different domains of the pelvic floor. The number of domains of patients with a history of sexual abuse was compared with patients without a history of sexual abuse.
Results: Twenty-three percent (42/185) of the patients reported a history of sexual abuse. The female patients with a history of sexual abuse had significantly more complaints in three domains of the pelvic floor (35/42) compared with the nonabused (69/143) (83% vs. 48%, P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Twenty-three percent of the female patients in a pelvic floor center evaluated by a pelvic-floor clinician reported a history of sexual abuse. This is comparable with the percentage of sexual abuse observed in the population at large. In our sample, the patients with multiple pelvic floor complaints (micturition, defecation, and sexual function) related to pelvic floor dysfunction were more likely to have a history of sexual abuse than the patients with isolated complaints.