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9.1: Introduction

  • Page ID
    15619
  • Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse can adversely affect almost every aspect of a woman’s life, including her sexuality. Sexual function is complex and impacts the woman to affect the perception of her own image and the formation of relationships with others.

    Sexuality and urinary incontinence are often considered to be taboos in the minds of many people, but recently the fields of urogynaecology and female urology have focused attention on female sexual function to align it with the extensive research performed in male sexuality.

    At present, there is no consensus regarding the definition of normal sexual function. In 1992 the World Health Organization International Classification of Diseases-10 defined female sexual dysfunction (FSD) as “the various ways in which an individual is unable to participate in a sexual relationship as she would wish”. In 1998, Basson et al received consensus on the classification of sexual dysfunction and divided it into four major categories including dysfunction of desire, arousal and orgasm with a fourth category for sexual pain disorders. The final category included other sexual pain disorders not associated with coitus (Table1). The American Foundation for Urologic Diseases classification system includes personal distress in each category and therefore the general opinion is that in order to make a diagnosis of FSD, it must be associated with personal distress.

    Table \(\PageIndex{1}\): Categories of sexual dysfunction

    Low sexual desire Difficulty with Arousal
    Difficulty with orgasm
    Sexual pain disorder
    • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder
    • Sexual aversion
    • Female arousal disorder
    • Dyspareunia
    • Vaginismus
    • Other non-sex causes

    The focus of this chapter will be directed towards the impact of urinary incontinence on female sexuality.

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