How does lower urinary tract dysfunction (LUTD) affect sexual function in men and women? ICI-RS 2015-Part 2

To discuss available data on the links between LUTD and sexual dysfunction, what is still unknown about the causative effect of disease processes on sexual function (SF), and to suggest proposals for further research.

At the 2015 International Consultation on Incontinence-Research Society (ICI-RS), a multi-disciplinary group presented a literature search of what is known about the effect of LUTD on SF in men and women. Wider discussions regarding knowledge gaps, and ideal research methodology ensued and are presented.

The underlying mechanisms of the impact of LUTD on SF remain largely unknown. Risk factors for the metabolic syndrome may cause both LUTS and ED in men, and their improvement may improve both conditions. In women, neurovascular changes may be common in LUTD and FSD. Successful LUTS management results in FSD improvement, but the mechanisms are ill understood. Gaps in standardization of sexual dysfunction terminology, variations of assessment, and treatment in clinical practice and research make most studies not comparable. The sensitive knowledge and subjective nature of the problem present challenges and often result in neglecting it.

Neurovascular and hormonal factors, but also indirect effects may link LUTD to SD in both sexes, but the evidence is not robust and the mechanisms unclear. There is a need for defining the terminology and standardizing outcomes assessed in clinical trials. The multifactorial nature of SF in both sexes makes trial design challenging and "real world" studies may prove more beneficial for patients' outcomes and clinicians' understanding.

Neurourology and urodynamics. 2017 Apr [Epub]

Apostolos Apostolidis, Angie Rantell, Ralf Anding, Ruth Kirschner-Hermanns, Linda Cardozo

2nd Department of Urology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece., Department of Urogynaecology, King's College Hospital, London, UK., Department of Neurourology, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

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