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5 Urinary Issues that Can Interfere with a Woman’s Sex Life

By: Nicole Szell, D.O.

Love may be blind, but when urinary issues get in the way of sex, it can be blindsiding.

This is the case with four in 10 women experience sexual problems at some point in their lives, thanks in part to urinary infections, pelvic inflammation, and muscle weakness. This includes 40% of the nearly 6.4 million adult women who live in Florida.

The sexual side effects of these conditions are blindsiding because many are just so sudden, such as an abrupt drop in sexual arousal or physical pain during intercourse. Many women take these symptoms personally, as if they are at fault. As a result, a lot of women become embarrassed to talk about it.

Yet like many unexpected events in our lives, the conditions behind these symptoms are common, natural, and often unavoidable. And they can be treated in a variety of ways.

Linking Urinary Wellness with Sexual Health

There are overall health reasons for women to enjoy an active sex life. Sex can reduce stress, improve sleep, and lower blood pressure. Women with active sex lives are less likely to have heart attacks, research suggests. Women with active sex lives later on in their “golden years” also usually live longer.

But when urinary wellness suffers, so can your sex life. Following are some of the urinary-sexual issues we treat for women:

Vaginal pain ­– Characterized by a chronic ache, itching, and burning, vaginal pain can result from nerve damage, an overreaction to yeast or inflammation, or muscle spasms. (Broader pelvic pain, meanwhile, can be brought on by fibroids or endometriosis.) Treatments typically start with pelvic-muscle exercises (Kegels) and medications, including nerve blockers. If the condition does not respond to these options, our team of urologists can perform reconstructive surgery.

Painful intercourse Vaginal dryness is usually caused by a lack of the female hormone estrogen, which is commonly associated with genitourinary syndrome of menopause. However, some medications and breastfeeding can contribute to dryness as well. It can make intercourse painful, even producing blood with sexual activity. You can approach treatment by regularly applying lubricant or through regular use of maintenance vaginal estrogen therapy. If these options do not provide relief, ask your doctor about outpatient laser procedures that resurface the vaginal endothelium.

Interstitial cystitis (IC) ­– Also called painful bladder syndrome, IC describes symptoms that occur when the bladder lining breaks down. The pain can feel like a urinary tract infection, and women are 10 times more likely than men to develop IC. Your prescribed treatments will depend on the symptoms and can include Kegel exercises, bladder training, medications, nerve stimulation to block the pain, or even procedures that help to re-surface the lining of the bladder. This procedure is known as “hydrodistension” and is performed by our expert team of urologists.

Pelvic organ prolapse ­– When your pelvic muscles weaken due to childbirth, strain, or post-menopausal hormone changes, the body parts they hold in place can drop through the vagina. Nearly half of all women develop pelvic prolapse, which can cause vaginal numbness and pressure. Non-surgical approaches include Kegels and small silicone devices (pessaries) that hold the organs in place. More advanced cases could be treated with reconstructive surgery or a hysterectomy.

Urinary incontinence ­– Bladder problems can weaken your ability to control urine leaks, which can be a mood killer when it comes to sex, let alone achieving orgasm. We can determine the kind of incontinence to treat with a simple physical exam. Stress incontinence – when urine leaks during pressure-related activities – can be treated with Kegels, bladder training, pessaries, or a medication to strengthen the urethra. Urge incontinence – the hard-to-control need to urinate – can be treated with medications that calm bladder muscles, including Botox.

Don’t Feel Awkward About Good Health

If you’re experiencing a change in sexual enjoyment, it’s likely due to another health issue that you can seize control of. Talk about it with your partner, friends, and your doctor. You might just love the results.

The staff at Advanced Urology Institute are your partners in good overall health. You can read about all the women’s health conditions we treat, with symptoms and treatment options, on our website.

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Advanced Urology Institute

Advanced Urology Institute is the largest urology practice in Florida. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our patients by providing excellent Patient-Centered Care. Set an appointment or visit our closest office near you.

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