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ORIGINAL RESEARCH—WOMEN'S SEXUAL HEALTH: Biofeedback, Electrical Stimulation, Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises, and Vaginal Cones: A Combined Rehabilitative Approach for Sexual Dysfunction Associated with Urinary Incontinence

Authors


Sighinolfi Maria Chiara, MD, Department of Urology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via del Pozzo 71, 41100 Modena, Italy. Tel: 0039-059-422-4766; Fax: 0039-059-422-2863; E-mail: sighinolfic@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Urinary incontinence (UI) is often associated with sexual dysfunction. We present our preliminary experience with a combined rehabilitative approach consisting of biofeedback, functional electrical stimulation, pelvic floor muscle exercises, and vaginal cones.

Aim.  The potential impact of such practice on UI and sexual function was analyzed in our case series and discussed.

Main Outcome Measures and Methods.  We evaluated three women affected by UI and sexual dysfunction. The patients underwent combined pelvic floor rehabilitation (PFR), kept voiding diaries, and filled out the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI questionnaire) before and after the completion of PFR. We evaluated each domain score, including desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain.

Results.  After the combined rehabilitation program, none of them had UI requiring pad use or referred urine leakage during sexual activity, including intercourse. Before PFR, FSFI score ranged from 16 to 21; after treatment, the FSFI score ranged from 22.1 to 29.3. There was an improvement in patients regarding desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain.

Conclusions.  A complete rehabilitation can provide a beneficial effect on sexual function. A larger trial, on a more extended female population, is currently in progress, in order to confirm our findings. The effectiveness of a complete PFR scheme, together with the lack of side effects, makes it a suitable approach to sexual dysfunction that is associated with UI. Rivalta M, Sighinolfi MC, De Stefani S, Micali S, Mofferdin A, Grande M, and Bianchi G. Biofeedback, electrical stimulation, pelvic floor muscle exercises, and vaginal cones: A combined rehabilitative approach for sexual dysfunction associated with urinary incontinence. J Sex Med 2009;6:1674–1677.

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