In a new BJU International study, women with urinary incontinence reported declines in sexual activity and arousal over the last year, and they expressed increased concern about their frequency of sexual activity and ability to become sexually aroused. Men with urinary incontinence reported declines in sexual desire, increased erectile and orgasm difficulties, and concern about these sexual functions.
The study included information from 3,805 individuals in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), a population-representative panel survey of ageing, retirement, and health in middle-aged and older men and women living in England. Twenty percent of women and seven percent of men reported any urinary incontinence in the last 12 months.
"Our findings highlight strong links between urinary incontinence and a number of negative outcomes regarding sexual health. Both urinary incontinence and later-life sexuality remain taboo subjects in society and are likely to be under-reported as coexisting health problems," said lead author Dr. David Lee, of Manchester Metropolitan University, in the U.K. "Given the relatively high occurrence of incontinence, particularly among women, healthcare professionals should be aware of the potential impacts on quality-of-life and well-being, and recognise that sexual activity and satisfaction are key factors in this equation."