Currently there are no completely reliable instruments available to measure or diagnose sexual dysfunction. It is essential that a women’s sexual function causes personal distress before the clinician makes a diagnosis of FSD. Sexuality is only one aspect of quality of life (QOL). The World Health Organization defines QOL as not only the absence of disease, but also complete physical, social and mental wellbeing.
Different methods of evaluating of QOL are available. Validated questionnaires represent a more objective assessment and have become an essential tool used to standardize and collect data. Two types of questionnaires are available, including a general questionnaire and a condition specific questionnaire. The general questionnaire is insensitive to a condition such as urinary incontinence, whereas a condition specific questionnaire is more surgery sensitive to the effect of lower urinary tract symptoms on QOL, but in turn does not evaluate other health related issues.
Questionnaires are often intrusive and ask very intimate questions. However, in a study that was used to develop and validate a questionnaire looking at urinary incontinence and sexual function (SF-IUIQ), 82.2% of the women did not report feeling too embarrassed to complete the questionnaire. The short form of the pelvic organ prolapse/urinary incontinence sexual questionnaire (PISQ-12) is a useful condition specific questionnaire. In the clinical setting this short form of the PISQ provides a template for clinicians to discuss sexuality and helps to evaluate outcome before and after treatment intervention which could be conservative or surgical.