How female urinary problems can affect your sex life Women commonly suffer from all sorts of bladder problems. One condition that frequently affects women is urinary tract infection UTI , which can occur when bacteria enter the bladder and cause symptoms of frequent and often painful urination, difficulty urinating, and bladder discomfort. UTI may or may not be triggered by sexual activity, but certainly having sex when an infection is present can be very uncomfortable. However, some women suffer from chronic bladder symptoms even when no bacterial infection has been determined.
In many cases, these symptoms, which can include painful and frequent urination and bladder pain, are constant and intractable.
This condition is referred to as interstitial cystitis IC and is estimated to affect , Americans. IC is a chronic condition, which frequently goes undiagnosed. Women are more prone than men to this syndrome and one of its main features is a sensitive and sometimes painful bladder.
Because the bladder may be displaced slightly by sexual intercourse, having penetrative sex can be very uncomfortable. IC is similar to vulvar pain syndromes in that the vaginal muscles are often in a state of hypertonus tightness please link to second article about pain with sex. One difference is, that women with IC may not necessarily have pain upon initial penetration but may suffer from pain with deep penetration or upon orgasm.
As with chronic vulvar pain conditions, women with IC need not give up on having a sex life. Even more common than chronic painful conditions of the bladder are those bothersome urogenital problems such as urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence.
In fact, it is estimated that one out of four women will suffer from incontinence at some point in her life. Leaking urine with activities such as coughing, laughing or sneezing is known as stress incontinence. This occurs when the pressure on the bladder that occurs during activities such as these, exceeds the pressure provided by the urethral sphincter, which keeps the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body, closed.
This occurs due to insufficient strength of the pelvic floor, which may be weakened by pregnancies, births and hormonal changes, particularly menopause. Urge incontinence describes a situation where one has a strong urgent desire to urinate, to the extent that urine is lost involuntarily before making it in time to the toilet. Thisoccurs because of unwanted contractions of the bladder.
Women with incontinence are often afraid of leakage during sex, and as a result, they avoid intimate situations. Women with stress incontinence are more likely to leak with penetration due to pressure on the bladder and women with urge incontinence may leak during orgasm, which may or may not occur with intercourse. Both urge and stress incontinence can be treated. Pelvic floor strengthening exercises have demonstrated success in curing incontinence in several controlled studies.
Urgency can be managed as well, with behavioral techniques such as bladder training, timed voiding, and dietary restrictions. In severe conditions, medications that control bladder contractions, known as anti-cholinergic medications, may be helpful as well.
In more severe cases, when pelvic floor rehabilitation is not effective enough, surgical repair may be the appropriate intervention. If urinary problems are affecting your sex life, you should consider the following suggestions: Speak to your doctor about your symptoms. Something as simple as an anti-cholinergic medication to prevent bladder contractions a half hour before sex may prevent orgasm related leakage Speak openly with your partner about your fears and discomforts.