Coital Incontinence and Vaginal Symptoms and the Relationship to Pelvic Floor Muscle Function in Primiparous Women at 12 Months Postpartum: A Cross-Sectional Study

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Abstract

Introduction.

Symptoms related to sexual dysfunction postpartum are scarcely addressed in the literature, and the relationship to pelvic floor muscle (PFM) function is largely unknown.

Aims.

The aim of this study was to investigate primiparous women 12 months postpartum and study: (i) prevalence and bother of coital incontinence, vaginal symptoms, and sexual matters; and (ii) whether coital incontinence and vaginal symptoms were associated with vaginal resting pressure (VRP), PFM strength, and endurance.

Methods.

International Consultation on Incontinence Modular Questionnaire (ICIQ) sexual matters module and ICIQ-Vaginal Symptoms Questionnaire were used for questions on coital incontinence, vaginal symptoms, and sexual matters, respectively. PFM function was assessed by manometer (Camtech AS, Sandvika, Norway).

Main Outcome Measures.

Coital incontinence, vaginal symptoms, and PFM function were the main outcome measures.

Results.

One hundred seventy-seven primiparous women, mean age 28.7 (standard deviation [SD] 4.3) participated. Of the 94% of women having sexual intercourse, coital incontinence was found for 1.2% whereas 34.5% reported at least one vaginal symptom interfering with the sexual life of primiparous women. Of the symptoms investigated, “vagina feels dry,” “vagina feels sore,” and “vagina feels loose or lax” were most prevalent, but the overall impact on the woman's sexual life was minimally bothersome, mean 1.4 out of 10 (SD 2.5). Women reporting “vagina feels loose or lax” had lower VRP, PFM strength, and endurance when compared with women without the symptom.

Conclusions.

Twelve-month postpartum coital incontinence was rare, whereas the prevalence of vaginal symptoms interfering with sexual life was more common. The large majority of primiparous women in our study had sexual intercourse at 12 months postpartum and the reported overall bother on sexual life was low. Women reporting “vagina feels loose or lax” had lower VRP, PFM strength, and endurance when compared with women without the symptom. Tennfjord MK, Hilde G, Stær-Jensen J, Siafarikas F, Engh ME, and Bø K. Coital incontinence and vaginal symptoms and the relationship to pelvic floor muscle function in primiparous women at 12 months postpartum: A cross-sectional study. J Sex Med 2015;12:994–1003.

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