Elderly men and women who suffer from urinary incontinence may face complications as well as reduced sexual drive, researchers say. Urinary incontinence (UI), also known as involuntary urination, is any uncontrolled leakage of urine. It is a common and distressing problem, in the elderly and may have a large impact on quality of life. Women suffering from frequent urine leakage reported declines in sexual activity and and ability to become sexually aroused. On the other hand, men with urinary incontinence reported declines in sexual desire, increased erectile and orgasm difficulties, the study showed.
The study also highlighted the need for the “taboo” subjects to be discussed by health professionals. “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 David Lee, researcher at the Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain. “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,” Lee added.
For the findings, published in the journal BJU International, the team included 3,805 individuals. Previous studies mentioned that pelvic floor and bladder training, advice on lifestyle changes (for example, reducing fluid intake and losing weight), drugs to reduce bladder contraction, and surgery are certain measures currently undertaken to treat urinary incontinence in women.