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Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2009 May;20 Suppl 1:S45-50. doi: 10.1007/s00192-009-0832-y.

Assessment of sexual function in women with pelvic floor dysfunction.

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Women's Pelvic Specialty Care, University of New Mexico Hospital, Albuquerque, NM, USA.


This article reviews sexual function questionnaires used in urogynecology, impact of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) on sexual function, and impact of surgical treatment of PFD on sexual function, with a focus on the experience and publications of validated sexual function questionnaires in the urogynecologic literature. A review of the literature was performed to obtain data on sexual function and PFD focusing on those studies that utilized validated sexual function questionnaires. Validated questionnaires assure data that are reliable, quantifiable, and reproducible. Quality-of-life questionnaires, such as The King's Health Questionnaire and the Incontinence Impact Questionnaire, include a few questions addressing sexual function but really deal with the overall impact of incontinence and/or prolapse on the patient's QOL or well-being and do not focus on sexual function. General questionnaires focused on sexual function include the Female Sexual Function Index and the Sexual History Form 12, which were designed to evaluate sexual function and have undergone validation and reliability testing in a general population. General questionnaires are not condition-specific and may not be sensitive enough to detect differences due to PFD. The Pelvic Organ Prolapse Urinary Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire (PISQ) is a condition-specific questionnaire focused on sexual function for use in women with PFD and has undergone rigorous validation and reliability testing. Many recent publications examining the impact of urinary incontinence (UI), fecal incontinence, and pelvic organ prolapse (POP) using validated generalized and disease-specific questionnaires have reported poorer sexual function in women with PFD. The PISQ has been used most commonly to evaluate sexual function after surgery for PFD, with increased PISQ scores in approximately 70%. Significant improvement is noted for sexual function related to physical and partner-related factors, with no changes for orgasm, desire, or arousal after surgical repair of PFD. Studies which used generalized sexual function questionnaires mainly found no change in sexual function following surgical treatment of POP and/or UI. In summary, the use of validated questionnaires shows that PFD is associated with a negative impact on sexual functions. Surgical correction of POP and/or UI improves sexual function in approximately 70% of patients, although some studies show no change with the use of non-condition-specific questionnaires.

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