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Is the Sexual Satisfaction of Postmenopausal Women Enhanced by Physical Exercise and Pelvic Floor Muscle Training?

Authors

  • Lúcia Alves da Silva Lara MD, PhD,

    1. Sexual Medicine Service, Human Reproduction Sector, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo University, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Mary Lourdes Montenegro MD,

    1. Physiotherapy Course, Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation of Locomotor System, Faculty of Medicine, São Paulo University, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Maíra Menezes Franco PT,

    1. Physiotherapy Course, Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation of Locomotor System, Faculty of Medicine, São Paulo University, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Daniela Cristina Carvalho Abreu MD, PhD,

    1. Physiotherapy Course, Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation of Locomotor System, Faculty of Medicine, São Paulo University, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Ana Carolina Japur de Sá Rosa e Silva PhD,

    1. Sexual Medicine Service, Human Reproduction Sector, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo University, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • Cristine Homsi Jorge Ferreira MD, PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Physiotherapy Course, Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation of Locomotor System, Faculty of Medicine, São Paulo University, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
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Cristine Homsi Jorge Ferreira, MD, PhD, Physiotherapy Course, Department of Biomechanics, Medicine and Rehabilitation of Locomotor System, Faculty of Medicine, São Paulo University, Av. Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo 14049-300, Brazil. Tel: 551636023058; Fax: 551636024413; E-mail: cristine@fmrp.usp.br

ABSTRACT

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.

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