Overactive bladder (OAB), the most common subtype of urinary incontinence, has a heavy price on quality of life, especially on sexual life. Unfortunately, most women rarely voice the worsening of sexual function, especially those who already suffer from OAB symptoms. It has been demonstrated that patients who suffer from OAB score lower on Pelvic Organ Prolapse/Urinary Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire and Female Sexual Function Index scores, meaning that their sexual function is debilitated. Therapies for OAB begin with traditional pelvic floor physiotherapy, advance to anticholinergic drugs, and become more invasive with intravesical injections of onabotulinumtoxinA (commonly known as Botox). Last, for patients resistant to conservative therapies, sacral neuromodulation is the treatment of choice.
This article reviews the current literature that sheds light on the above 4 treatments and their effect on sexual function. This topic is of great importance because of the under-reporting of sexual dysfunction in women who suffer from OAB, in hopes of raising awareness of sexual function for clinicians treating patients with OAB.
This review found that the aforementioned 4 treatments for OAB (physiotherapy, anticholinergic drugs, intravesical injections of onabotulinumtoxinA, and sacral neuromodulation) do not have a detrimental affect on sexual function. On the contrary, the little data that do exist show that sexual function increases after these therapies are completed in women with OAB.
This review concludes with a positive outlook: physicians are helping women with OAB syndrome to improve their sexual function. However, not enough data exist, partially due to under-reporting of diminished sexual function. Gali L, Lior L, Levy G. Overactive Bladder Syndrome Treatments and Their Effect on Female Sexual Function: A Review. Sex Med 2019;XX:XXX-XXX.
Sexual medicine. 2019 Oct 08 [Epub ahead of print]
Levy Gali, Lowenstein Lior, Gali Levy
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rambam Health Care Campus, Haifa, Israel., Tel Aviv, Israel. Electronic address: .