Introduction. Physical exercise including pelvic floor muscle (PFM) training seems to improve the sexual function of women with urinary incontinence. This effect in postmenopausal women who are continent has not yet been determined.
Aim. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of a 3-month physical exercise protocol (PEP) on the sexual function and mood of postmenopausal women.
Methods. Thirty-two sedentary, continent, sexually active women who had undergone menopause no more than 5 years earlier and who had follicle stimulating hormone levels of at least 40 mIU/mL were enrolled into this longitudinal study. All women had the ability to contract their PFMs, as assessed by vaginal bimanual palpation. Muscle strength was graded according to the Oxford Modified Grading Scale (OMGS). A PEP was performed under the guidance of a physiotherapist (M.M.F.) twice weekly for 3 months and at home three times per week. All women completed the Sexual Quotient-Female Version (SQ-F) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) before and after the PEP.
Main Outcome Measures. SQ-F to assess sexual function, HASDS to assess mood, and OMGS to grade pelvic floor muscle strength.
Results. Thirty-two women (24 married women, eight women in consensual unions) completed the PEP. Following the PEP, there was a significant increase in OMGS score (2.59 ± 1.24 vs. 3.40 ± 1.32, P < 0.0001) and a significant decrease in the number of women suffering from anxiety (P < 0.01), but there was no effect on sexual function.
Conclusion. Implementation of our PEP seemed to reduce anxiety and improve pelvic floor muscular strength in sedentary and continent postmenopausal women. However, our PEP did not improve sexual function. Uncontrolled variables, such as participation in a long-term relationship and menopause status, may have affected our results. We suggest that a randomized controlled trial be performed to confirm our results. Lara LAS, Montenegro ML, Franco MM, Abreu DCC, Rosa e Silva ACJS, Ferreira CHJ. Is the sexual satisfaction of postmenopausal women enhanced by physical exercise and pelvic floor muscle training? J Sex Med 2012;9:218–223.