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Urogynecology and Sexual Function Research. How Are We Doing?

Authors

  • Lior Lowenstein MD, MS,

    1. Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loyola Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA;
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  • Kristen Pierce MD,

    1. Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loyola Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA;
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  • Rachel Pauls MD

    1. Women's Center for Specialized Care, Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, Good Samaritan Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, USA
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Lior Lowenstein, MD, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Urology, Loyola University Medical Center, 2160 South First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153, USA. Tel: (708) 216-2170; Fax: (708) 216-2171; E-mail: lowensteinmd@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Urinary incontinence (UI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) negatively impact health-related quality of life by affecting daily activities, body image, and sexual relationships.

Aim.  To evaluate interest in sexual function (SF) research among urogynecologists.

Main Outcome Measures.  The rate of abstracts presented at national meetings that dealt with SF over a 5-year period.

Methods.  We reviewed all abstracts presented as an oral podium, moderated poster, and nonmoderated posters at meetings of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons (SGS) and American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS) between 2002 and 2007. Abstracts involving SF outcomes were categorized according to conference year, type of pelvic floor dysfunction, and type of intervention. The Friedman test was used to compare groups with respect to percentages.

Results.  During the study period, the number of abstracts related to SF increased significantly at both meetings. In 2002, there were no studies reported SF outcomes at the SGS meeting, and only 3% (four) of studies at AUGS meeting dealt with SF. Subsequently, in 2007, 10% (nine) and 9% (15) of the abstracts presented at the SGS and AUGS meetings, respectively, addressed SF (P < 0.001 and P < 0.003, respectively). The majority of the studies (60–70%) presented at both meetings investigated the relationship between SF and various surgical interventions for POP and stress UI.

Conclusion.  Disorders of the female pelvic floor, such as UI and POP, can influence SF and satisfaction. Our study demonstrates that the awareness and interest of urogynecologists in this area have been increasing steadily. However, most pelvic floor research presentations still do not mention SF in their outcome. Since surgery alone cannot treat the majority of women with sexual dysfunction, there is a need for collaborative work among urogynecologists, gynecologists, female urologists, and sexual therapists. Lowenstein L, Pierce K, and Pauls R. Urogynecology and sexual function research. How are we doing? J Sex Med 2009;6:199–204.

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