Impact of urinary incontinence on female sexual health in women during midlife

Womens Midlife Health. 2015 Sep 14;1:6. doi: 10.1186/s40695-015-0007-6. eCollection 2015.


Sexual health is important to the self worth, emotional well being, and overall quality of life of women in midlife. However, urinary incontinence, which is prevalent in this population, has a negative impact on sexual function. The purpose of this article is to review the impact of urinary incontinence on female sexual dysfunction and discuss the impact of urinary incontinence treatment on sexual function. We carried out a literature review on the effect of stress urinary incontinence and urgency urinary incontinence on sexual health and physiological response, including coital incontinence, satisfaction, desire, orgasm, frequency, and partner relationships. We examined the literature regarding changes in sexual function related to non-surgical and surgical interventions for incontinence. Overall, though studies are lacking and of poor quality, treatment of incontinence has been shown to improve sexual function. Both pelvic muscle training and midurethral slings have been shown to improve sexual function in those with stress urinary incontinence. In urgency urinary incontinence, evidence indicates improvement in sexual function after treatment with anti-muscarinic medications. Coital incontinence commonly improves with treatment of the underlying incontinence subtype. Although problems related to sexual health are complex and involve both psychological and physical factors, it is important to consider treatment of urinary incontinence as part of management of sexual dysfunction.

Keywords: Coital incontinence; Middle aged; Sexual dysfunction; Sexual function; Stress urinary incontinence; Treatment outcome; Urge urinary incontinence; Urinary incontinence.

Publication types

  • Review