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Evaluating the Impact of Overactive Bladder on Sexual Health in Women: What Is Relevant?


Karin S. Coyne, PhD, MPH, United BioSource Corporation, Center for Health Outcomes Research, 7101 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 600, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA. Tel: (301) 654-9729; Fax: (301) 654-9864; E-mail:


Introduction.  To assess sexual health, relevant, valid, and reliable questionnaires need to be used.

Aim.  To assess the relevance and content validity of three sexual health questionnaires in women with overactive bladder (OAB) and urinary incontinence.

Main Outcome Measures.  Sexual Quality of Life Questionnaire––Female (SQoL-F), Sexual Function Questionnaire (SFQ), and Pelvic Organ Prolapse–Incontinence Sexual Function Questionnaire (PISQ).

Methods.  Women with OAB and urinary incontinence were recruited from five urology clinics in the United States; those who were interested in participating were mailed questionnaire packets with instructions. Each questionnaire item was followed by three questions regarding the understandability, relevance, and impact of bladder condition when responding to the question. Patients returned the completed questionnaires by mail; clinical information was obtained from chart review.

Results.  A total of 129 patients (74% response) returned the questionnaires. The mean age was 56 years; 78% were white; 64% were married. In this sample, 64% had urge incontinence; 32% had mixed incontinence; and 4% had stress incontinence. Participants experienced bladder symptoms for a mean of 12.2 years with the following treatments: surgery (43%), bladder training (26%), exercise/biofeedback (42%), and medications (67%). SQoL-F items were understood by more than 97% of the respondents, more than 89% for SFQ, and more than 82% for PISQ. There were two SQoL-F items, one SFQ item, and 11 PISQ items that less than 60% of the respondents deemed relevant to their bladder condition. Correlations among questionnaire items and relevance to bladder condition ranged from 0.04 to 0.64 for the SQoL-F, 0.04 to 0.47 for the SFQ, and 0.01 to 0.58 for the PISQ.

Conclusion.  Women with OAB found the majority of items on all three questionnaires to be relevant to their bladder condition. Of these questionnaires, the SQoL-F had the highest understandability, fewest questions considered irrelevant, and correlated well with OAB symptoms. Coyne KS, Margolis MK, Brewster-Jordan J, Sutherland SE, Bavendam T, and Rogers RG. Evaluating the impact of overactive bladder on sexual health in women: What is relevant? J Sex Med 2007;4:124–136.