Changes in female sexual function after pelvic organ prolapse repair: role of hysterectomy

Int Urogynecol J. 2013 Sep;24(9):1481-7. doi: 10.1007/s00192-012-2041-3. Epub 2013 Jan 30.


Introduction and hypothesis: Incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) have an impact on sexuality. Few studies evaluate the impact of hysterectomy on sexual function. We designed the present observational prospective longitudinal cohort study in order to evaluate the impact of uterus preservation after POP repair on sexual function.

Methods: Between January 2006 and January 2011, 107 patients with POP, mean age 58 ± 8.9 years, underwent colposacropexy with or without hysterectomy. All the women without uterine disease were offered the chance to preserve the uterus. All patients gave written informed consent and completed the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire, before and after surgery, provided detailed case history, underwent urogynaecological examination and urodynamic assessment and completed the Urogenital Distress Inventory short form (UDI-6) and Incontinence Impact on Quality of Life short form (IIQ-7) questionnaires, and the satisfaction Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). One year after surgery patients repeated the FSFI questionnaire and underwent a clinical check-up. The primary end-point was post-operative sexual function as evaluated by the FSFI, the secondary end-points were objective anatomical and subjective success, defined respectively as no prolapse and no incontinence-related symptoms.

Results: Sixty-eight patients were included: 32 underwent uterus-sparing surgery and 36 hysterectomy plus colposacropexy. After surgery both groups had significant improvements in the total FSFI score and in the domains of desire, arousal and orgasm. The median post-operative scores of desire, arousal, and orgasm domains showed significant improvements in the uterus-sparing group compared with the hysterectomy group. None of the women had a uterine or vault prolapse recurrence.

Conclusions: Our data demonstrate that POP plays a role in female sexual dysfunction and uterus sparing surgery is associated with a greater improvement in sexual function.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colposcopy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / complications*
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / surgery*
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Sexuality / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uterus / physiology*
  • Uterus / surgery
  • Visual Analog Scale