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Sexual Function in Women with Urinary Incontinence Treated by Pelvic Floor Transvaginal Electrical Stimulation


Gianna Pace, MD, Universty of L’Aquila—Surgery, Coppito Laquila, 67100, Italy. Tel: +39 0862 314916; Fax: +39 0862 433303; E-mail:


Introduction.  Women’s sexual dysfunctions (WSD) have been commonly associated with urinary incontinence (UI). Women with UI and who scored low on the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) showed an improvement in urinary leakage and also in their sexual life following treatment by transvaginal electrical stimulation (TES).

Aims.  To determine the effects of TES in 37 women complaining of UI, of whom 23 also had WSD, and to compare the FSFI scores of women with UI and 43 women not affected by UI who underwent routine urologic evaluation.

Methods.  Thirty-seven women complaining of UI were evaluated by voiding diary and with FSFI before and after 3 months of TES. All had a urogynecologic evaluation and urodynamic study.

Main Outcome Measures.  In the voiding diary the women reported the types of liquid they ingested, urinary frequency, and episodes of urgency and urine leakage. The domain scores of the FSFI, including desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain, were calculated. TES was conducted for 15–30 minutes, twice a week for 3 months, using biphasic intermittent current with a frequency of 50 Hz for stress UI (SUI) and 20 Hz for urge UI (UUI), and the most tolerable intensity of stimulation.

Results.  After TES, only two of the 10 women with UUI experienced a few leakage incidents; patients with SUI were completely dry during TES; and only three reported a few episodes of UI during intense activities. The five patients with mixed UI improved mainly as regards urgency. The FSFI scores of patients complaining of UI showed significantly lower desire and sexual satisfaction, and higher sexual pain than controls. After 3 months, the 23 women affected by WSD, of the 37 participants with UI, reported a remarkable improvement in their sexual life.

Conclusions.  TES was found to be a safe and effective therapy for selected patients affected by mild to moderate UI. Because women with UI also complain of WSD compared with the general female population, an investigation of female sexuality is suggested for these patients.Giuseppe PG, Pace G, and Vicentini C. Sexual function in women with urinary incontinence treated by pelvic floor transvaginal electrical stimulation. J Sex Med 2007;4:702–707.