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J Urol. 2006 Feb;175(2):439-46.

Female sexual dysfunction following vaginal surgery: a review.

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Division of Female Urology, Voiding Dysfunction, Neuro-Urology and Urodynamics, Department of Urology, University of Miami, School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.



Depending on age it has been estimated that up to 40% of women have complaints of sexual problems, including decreased libido, vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse, decreased genital sensation and difficulty or inability to achieve orgasm. In this review we address the etiologies and incidence, evaluation and treatment of female sexual dysfunction following vaginal surgery for indications such as stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse; anterior/posterior colporrhaphy, perineoplasty and vaginal vault prolapse.


Literature on the mechanisms by which vaginal surgery affects female sexual function are discussed along with related pathophysiology to potential causes. The anatomy, neurovascular supply of the clitoris and introitus, and intrapelvic nerve supply are discussed as related to vaginal surgery. Techniques to avoid neurovascular damage during pelvic floor surgery were corroborated by supporting literature. Literature regarding female sexual dysfunction following other procedures, such as vaginal hysterectomy, Martius flap interposition, and vesicovaginal and rectovaginal fistula repair were also discussed.


Current literature does not support an association between vaginal length following vaginal surgery and sexual function. The proportion of women who are sexually active does not appear to be affected by vaginal surgery. Sling surgery for urinary incontinence does not appear to adversely affect overall sexual function, although individual parameters of sexual function scores may vary, eg a significant percent of women report pain during intercourse. Some patients experience improved overall sexual function due to complete relief from coital incontinence


Symptomatic vaginal narrowing is rare even in women undergoing simultaneous posterior repair. Overall sexual satisfaction appears to be independent of therapy for urinary incontinence or prolapse. Data indicate that defect specific posterior colporrhaphy with the avoidance of levator ani plication may improve sexual function. The possible etiological factors for sexual dysfunction following vaginal surgery deserve further investigations.

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