Women’s Sexuality: Urinary Incontinence Is Affecting My Sex Life

Even though incontinence and sex aren’t often mentioned in the same breath, the truth is that many women’s sex lives are affected by their incontinence. While incontinence itself doesn’t directly affect a woman’s ability to have sex, the psychological fear of experiencing incontinence during sex can cause some women to avoid intimate encounters.

While the topic may not be pleasant to think about, urogynecological issues, such as incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders, are very real for many women. In fact, urinary incontinence affects at least 20-30% of women.

There are several different types of incontinence that affect women, including stress and urge incontinence. Stress incontinence is involuntary urination that can occur when a woman coughs or sneezes, caused by lack of support in the vaginal region. Urge incontinence is caused by overactive bladder muscles that cause leakage of urine.

Stress incontinence is more prevalent for some women immediately after childbirth. Estrogen is decreased during breastfeeding and results in temporary dryness and decreased elasticity. There are at-home techniques you can use to regain support, including kegels, the exercise of repeatedly contracting the pelvic floor muscles, which can strengthen your pelvic floor. Strengthening these muscles not only prevents incontinence, but women have reported experiencing better sex when they regularly practice kegels.

Urge incontinence can appear after childbirth as well, but can also be brought on after a urinary tract infection or other urinary illness. For this type of incontinence your physician may advise you to re-train your bladder and plan your bathroom trips or prescribe medications that can help. Staying away from bladder irritants like caffeine and alcohol can also help get the problem under control.

For both types of incontinence, talking with your physician can help. They will be able to provide strategies and exercises for you to do at home that will help get your problem under control, and hopefully get your sex life back on track!

If you would like to learn more, I will be discussing this topic during an upcoming free seminar at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women. There will also be other brief, targeted presentations by my colleagues from Baylor OB/GYN and The Women’s Specialists of Houston about the emotional and physical changes that impact women’s sexuality, common complaints including lack of libido and urinary incontinence and what you can do to improve your sexuality.

Sexuality Seminar at Pavilion for WomenYour Sexuality: After Childbirth and Beyond
Thursday, Feb 21, 2013 – 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women
6651 Main Street, Houston, TX 77030

Reserve your seat now!
Limited seating is available.

I hope to see you there!

About Dr. Damla Dryden, OB/GYN

I am an OB/GYN at Women’s Specialists of Houston at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women and an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine.

I have a particular interest in the diagnosis and treatment of women with urogynecology disorders. My publications have been featured in Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Journal of the Society for Gynecological Investigation.

Posted in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pavilion for Women

3 Responses to Women’s Sexuality: Urinary Incontinence Is Affecting My Sex Life

  1. Kevin says:

    Hi, i cant emphasize on how much information like this needs to be spread, the reason why its left in the dark is because sex is a taboo topic in many instances. My wife has suffered with incontinence for years and she has had some heavy leaks during intimacy, we use a fair few products to help her during the day, but at night she feels to embarrassed to have sex often making lame excuses. Good post but wish you could have elaborated on a few more help options.

  2. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    I thought all hope was lost after I had my three children. I had made changes to my diet, added pelvic floor exercises to my daily routine, etc and still had no relief of my symptoms. I did hours of research and came across Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute of Los Angeles. Absolutely amazing results and I would recommend these Doctors to everyone!

  3. It is certainly important to see your doctor as soon as you notice the symptoms of incontinence. If caught early, simple lifestyle changes can dramatically improve your condition.

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