IMR Press / CEOG / Volume 49 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.31083/j.ceog4902049
Open Access Review
Impact of Urinary Incontinence on Women’s Sexuality
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1 Pelvic Floor Unit, Working Group of Clinical Sexology, ICGON, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, University of Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
2 Surgical and Medicosurgery Specialties Departament. Universitat de Barcelona, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
3 Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS), 08036 Barcelona, Spain
*Correspondence: (Sònia Anglès-Acedo)
These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Ayse Seyhan
Clin. Exp. Obstet. Gynecol. 2022, 49(2), 49;
Submitted: 6 December 2021 | Revised: 22 December 2021 | Accepted: 30 December 2021 | Published: 14 February 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Objective: Globally, the prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) in women is estimated to be in the range of 25% to 45%. Different types of UI exist, being the most frequent ones stress UI, urgency UI and mixed UI. Being affected by UI is associated with a higher risk of sexual inactivity, regardless of its type. Mechanism: It is estimated that 5–38% patients with UI are sexually inactive due to UI, whereas 25–38% sexually active women would restrict their sexual activity due to UI. The prevalence of sexual dysfunction within sexually active women with UI is 23–56%. Findings in Brief: In patients with UI, the most frequent sexual dysfunctions are dyspareunia (44%), female sexual interest/arousal disorder (34%) and orgasmic disorder (11%). Therefore, UI has a negative impact on the sexual function of sexually active women with UI. Coital incontinence is defined as the complaint of involuntary loss of urine during or after intercourse. UI with penetration represents any complaint of involuntary loss of urine with vaginal stimulation (either with a sexual toy, manually or with penetration). Orgasmic UI refers to any complaint of involuntary loss of urine occurring at orgasm, regardless of the sexual behaviour that has triggered it. Due to the high prevalence of coital UI (50–60%) in the female population and its strongly negative impact on women’s sexuality, patients should be specifically asked for coital UI in the gynecologic visits. Conclusions: UI affects between one in four and one in two women and had a negative impact on quality of life. Not only UI has an impact on female sexuality, but also different treatments which are offered to treat it can play a role. The reduction of sexual problems with pelvic floor muscle training in women with stress UI has been proved, being the rate of sexual activity doubled. A significant improvement of the overactive bladder associated to urgency UI and female sexual function has been described after the pharmacological treatment or botulinum toxin. Finally, significant improvement of the sexual function has also been found after midurethral slings for stress UI, as well as for coital UI.

Urinary incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence
Urgency urinary incontinence
Coital urinary incontinence
Sexual function
Sexual activity
Female sexuality
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