When Urinary Issues Affect Sexual Pleasure: A Women’s Guide to Care

May 15, 2024

It might be obvious why urinary dysfunction can get in the way of activities women take for granted, from playing tennis to seeing a long movie. But when such conditions interfere with sexual pleasure, the correlation might not be so clear.

Yes, urinary health can put the brakes on sexual intimacy. Researchers estimate that four in 10 women experience sexual problems at one time or another, and many cases can be due to urinary and urogynecology conditions including infections, pelvic muscle changes, hormonal imbalances, and inflammation.

The symptoms of these ailments can be sudden. You might be caught off-guard by an abrupt decline in the ability to be aroused, for example, or by pain during sex. These events can be confusing, and upsetting, but you should know they are a natural part of life, just like sex.

And, fortunately, these urinary and urogynecology conditions can be treated, in multiple ways. The first step is knowing who to talk to about it.

How Your Urinary Health Affects Sexual Enjoyment

Research links sexual activity with lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and better sleep. Some studies suggest that women with happy sex lives are less likely to have heart attacks. So seeing a doctor can improve your overall health.

Here are among the most common sex-related urinary issues we treat:

Pelvic organ prolapse – Prolapse, or pelvic floor weakness occurs when the pelvic muscles weaken and your bladder, uterus, and/or upper vagina slip from position and into the vagina. Nearly half of all women develop this condition. Symptoms include weak bladder control, numbness, and discomfort during sex. Non-invasive approaches can start with pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) and pessaries – small disks inserted into the vagina to hold the slipped organs in place. Outpatient surgical procedures involve supporting the pelvis with your own body tissue or mesh.

Vaginal pain – An estimated 40% of women at some point in their lives experience pain during sex, which could result from trauma, infection, inflammatory skin conditions, or muscle spasms. But for many women, the pain stems from a loss of vaginal lubrication due to menopausal hormone declines. First-step treatments can include Kegels, medications including topical vaginal estrogen, and physical therapy. If not effective, MidLantic Urology physicians can provide additional support.

Interstitial cystitis (IC) – Also called painful bladder syndrome, IC causes bladder and pelvic pain that can make intercourse uncomfortable. It may also trigger a sudden need to urinate, contributing to sexual apprehension. IC is likely due to inflammation, auto immune dysfunction, and/or bacteria in the bladder. It is 10 times more likely to occur in women than men. Therapies, which treat the underlying causes, include Kegels, oral medications, bladder training (biofeedback), and Botox injections.

Urinary incontinence – One in three women experience urine leaks at some point, and it can cause enough “accident” fear to inhibit sexual impulse and the ability to reach orgasm. Your care could depend on the type of incontinence. Stress incontinence, when urine leaks during pressure-related activities, is often caused by a weak pelvic floor. Urge incontinence (overactive bladder), is an immediate and hard-to-control need to pee. Solutions include topical estrogen, biofeedback, pessaries, and an injectable medication called Bulkamid® that can strengthen the urethra.

Open Up Your Healthy Sex Life. Let’s Talk

The sex-related symptoms of these urinary conditions can be surprising, but they shouldn’t be intimidating. You can take control of the issue by talking about it. The urologists and urogynecologists at MidLantic Urology treat sexual health problems in women every day.

This can be the first step toward freeing yourself of the symptoms.

You don’t have to endure sexual problems alone. Contact a women’s-health specialist at MidLantic Urology to get started on your whole-health path to happiness now.

Schedule an appointment with a MidLantic Urology Physician near you today!

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