Female Urinary Incontinence During Intercourse: A Review on an Understudied Problem for Women's Sexuality


Maurizio Serati, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Del Ponte Hospital, University of Insubria, p.zza biroldi 1, Varese 21100, Italy. Tel: 00393389098353; Fax: 0039332299307; E-mail: mauserati@hotmail.com


Introduction.  Coital urinary incontinence is a frequently underreported symptom, with a relevant impact on women's sexuality and quality of life.

Aim.  This article will review the available evidence on incidence, pathophysiology, and treatment of coital urinary incontinence with the attempt to present the current state of the art.

Methods.  PubMed was searched for reports about coital urinary incontinence that were published from 1970 to 2008, and the most relevant articles were reviewed.

Main Outcome Measures.  Review on epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of coital incontinence.

Results.  The incidence of coital incontinence in incontinent women has been reported to range between 10% and 27%. At present, some evidence suggests an association between urinary leakage at penetration and urodynamic stress (USI) incontinence as well as urinary leakage during orgasm and detrusor overactivity (DO). When treatment for these conditions are based upon urodynamic findings, pelvic floor muscle training, surgery, and pharmacotherapy show satisfactory cure rates.

Conclusions.  Coital urinary incontinence deserves much more attention in clinical practice: women should be specifically interviewed for this disturbance because it has a very negative impact on their sexuality. If a reliable urodynamic diagnosis is made, coital urinary incontinence at penetration can be cured in more than 80% of cases by surgery in the presence of USI. The form of coital incontinence during orgasm is curable by antimuscarinic treatment in about 60% of cases when associated with DO. Serati M, Salvatore S, Uccella S, Nappi RE, and Bolis P. Female urinary incontinence during intercourse: A review on an understudied problem for women's sexuality. J Sex Med 2009;6:40–48.