Female Sexual Function and the Pelvic Floor

Sarit O. Aschkenazi;   Roger P. Goldberg


Expert Rev of Obstet Gynecol. 2009;4(2):165-178. 

In This Article

Pelvic Floor Training & Sexual Function

There is a paucity of knowledge regarding the impact that pelvic muscle training has on sexual function in women with PFDs. Often, the initial approach for treatment of PFDs is to start with the least invasive treatment modality, which entails strengthening the pelvic floor musculature in conjunction with behavioral modification. However, there are few studies evaluating the effect of pelvic floor muscle strengthening as an intervention on sexual function using validated research tools in women with specific PFDs. One such study aimed to assess the effect of a 12-month pelvic floor rehabilitation program on sexual dysfunction variables of 59 women with SUI, based on a validated questionnaire for sexual dysfunction[57]. The results demonstrated that the ability to participate in physical activity and some sex life variables were affected by SUI, and that there was a statistically significant (p < 0.01) reduction in women with decreased sexual function and social and physical activity in the exercise group following 6 months of pelvic floor muscle exercise. In accordance with these results, another study showed that pelvic floor muscle training improves the sexual function of women with SUI[58]. Assessment of sexual function was done using the validated Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). In total, 70 women completed a 12-month program of supervised pelvic floor muscle training successfully. Following the training program, there was a decrease in incontinence episodes of 38.1%. Improvement was significant in all domains of the FSFI.


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