To explore the relationship between urinary incontinence and genital sensory functioning in females with sexual dysfunction disorders.
A retrospective consecutive chart review was conducted for all women who were referred to our tertiary female urology clinic with a primary complaint of sexual dysfunction between October 1999 and January 2009. Our study sample included 177 women, all of whom underwent a thorough clinical evaluation. Urinary incontinence was diagnosed based on clinical history and physical examination by a urogynecologist. The Genital Thermal and Vibratory Sensory Analyzer (GSA) was used for sensory testing in the genital area. Independent t-test and multivariate linear regression were used for statistical analysis.
Of the 177 study patients (median age 34, range 18-68), 63 (36%) had urinary incontinence. Women with urinary incontinence were found to be less sensitive to warm, cold, and vibratory thresholds at both the anterior and the posterior vaginal wall and the clitoral area (P < 0.05).
Women with urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction are less sensitive to all sensory testing in the genital region than women with sexual dysfunction alone. This relationship may be attributable to afferent nerve damage and the critical role it may play in the etiology of urinary incontinence.