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Changes in Sexual Functioning in Women after Neuromodulation for Voiding Dysfunction


Corresponding Author: Jessica M. Yih, MD, Department of Urology, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA. Tel: 248-495-0046; Fax: 216-844-1900; E-mail:



Sacral neuromodulation is a well-established treatment for urinary and bowel disorders with potential use for other disorders such as sexual dysfunction.


To evaluate changes in sexual functioning in women undergoing neuromodulation for voiding symptoms.


Patients enrolled in our prospective, observational neuromodulation database study were evaluated. Data were collected from medical records, and patient-completed Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and Interstitial Cystitis Symptom-Problem Indices (ICSI-PI) at baseline, 3, 6, and 12 months post-implant. Patients rated overall change in sexual functioning on scaled global response assessments (GRA) at 3, 6, and 12 months post-implant. We grouped women by baseline FSFI scores: less (score < 26) and more sexually functional (score ≥ 26). Data were analyzed with Pearson's Chi-square or Fisher's Exact test and repeated measures.

Main Outcomes Measures

Changes in FSFI and ICSI-PI scores in women grouped by baseline FSFI score < 26 and ≥26.


Of 167 women evaluated, FSFI scores improved overall from preimplant (mean 13.5 ± 8.5) to 12 months (N = 72; mean 15.9 ± 8.9, P = 0.004). At baseline and each follow-up point, ICSI-PI scores were similar between groups and improved through time. For patients in the FSFI < 26 group there was improvement from baseline to 12-month scores (N = 63; 11.9 ± 6.9 to 14.8 ± 8.7; P = 0.0006). Improved FSFI domains included desire, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain. Furthermore, of the 74 subjects in this group not sexually active at baseline, 10 became sexually active during follow-up. In the FSFI ≥ 26 group there was slight but statistically significant decline in mean scores between baseline and 12 months (N = 9; 27.4 ± 1.1 to 24.5 ± 3.4; P = 0.0302); however one had become sexually inactive. A significant decrease was seen in the satisfaction domain.


Many factors affect sexual functioning in women; however sexual function may improve along with urinary symptoms after neuromodulation. Yih JM, Killinger KA, Boura JA, and Peters KM. Changes in sexual functioning in women after neuromodulation for voiding dysfunction. J Sex Med 2013;10:2477–2483.