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What about my Sexuality?

Urinary incontinence affects women’s sexuality. A new Danish study has proven that half of all women with urinary incontinence experience their sex life as less satisfying.

In comparison, only one in every five women with urinary incontinence has the same experience. Urinary incontinence can lead to decreased frequency of intercourse, pains during intercourse, urination during intercourse and decreased lust during intercourse.

The Danish study has documented that urinary incontinence and decreased sexuality go hand in hand. The explanation for this connection is both physical and psychological. Some avoid sex because they leak during intercourse of feel pain during intercourse, others because they experience their confidence dropping and therefore not feeling sexually attractive anymore.

The vagina, the bladder and the urethra are surrounded by the same muscles called the pelvic floor. It is the pelvic floor that makes it possible to ‘hold water’ when you feel the urge to urinate. When the pelvic floor is weak – as is the case with women with stress-triggered urinary incontinence – the urine leaks at the slightest pressure to the bladder – as for example during intercourse.

Since the pelvic floor is further relaxed when the woman is sexually aroused, the result is that the woman leaks urine during intercourse. With women with an overactive bladder, the sudden strong urge to urinate arises because of lack of the female sex hormone oestrogen. Lack of oestrogen – as with women with an overactive bladder – leads to the mucous membrane in the vagina becoming thin and so dry that it leads to pain during intercourse and thereby reduced lust. The physical explanation for urinary incontinence and reduced sexuality often occur with the same women is therefore a common cause – reduced oestrogen and/or weak pelvic floor.

The anxiety for smelling of urine or leaking during intercourse can lead to a perception of being less sexually attractive and thereby reduced sexuality. This may result in the woman losing the lust for sex and avoiding intercourse entirely. Losing control over your urination is embarrassing but to imagine leaking during intercourse is for most people a horrifying thought.

No matter which explanation that fits your condition, help is available. You can do something yourself and your doctor can help you improve your sexuality. You can talk to your partner and train your pelvic floor. The doctor can prescribe medication and help you and your partner talking about the problem.

A well-functioning sex life presupposes that the couple cares for each other. Most lose interest in sex in a marriage where the couple do not love each other. When one in the relationship have sexual problems it is no longer sufficient that you love each other – you must also respect each other. A respect that you show by taking considerations and express understanding. Preserving a good sex life requires the will to provide an effort, including talking about the problems. Even though the woman suffers from urinary incontinence, there are ways to preserve the sex life. It can be necessary to change sexual habits.

If the couple, due to habit, only have used one sexual position and the woman has involuntary urination during intercourse another sexual position might mean that she no longer leaks during intercourse. For some with urinary incontinence, it is best to be at the bottom during intercourse, while it is best for others to be on top or on the side so as to avoid powerful thrusts to the bladder. You have to feel your way. The smell can be curbed with perfume. Training your pelvic floor can also increase your sexuality.

If you and your partner cannot solve the problem yourselves, the doctor can help. It can be hard to talk to your doctor about your sexuality and that helps enhance the problem. The doctor can help you and your partner, depending on what explanation is behind your reduced sexuality. If you lack oestrogen, the doctor can make you a prescription for oestrogen. If your musculature is weak, the doctor can instruct you in how to train your pelvic floor. If you perceive yourself as less sexually attractive, it can be of help to talk about the problem with your doctor. Often, it is a good idea if both you and your partner talk to the doctor.

Here are a few good advice for you who suffers from urinary incontinence:

Empty the bladder before intercourse – try to urinate twice with an interval of 30 minutes.

Wash yourself before having intercourse and use a little perfume or deodorant on stomach and thighs.

Use a personal lubricant to moisten the vagina.

Put a big towel in the bed, in case there is a little urine.

Try different sexual positions

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