Women with urinary incontinence: a look at a multi-faceted universe

Paola Manfredi, Vera Pagani


Background: urinary incontinence (UI) is a disease that inevitably affects the quality of women's lives in many ways. In accordance with the analysis of the literature and the specific nature of the disorder, it is believed that two of the relevant factors for assessing the quality of life of these women are sexuality and psychological well-being.

Methods: it proposes a pilot study on a sample of 97 Italian women attending an outpatient urology department to investigate sexuality in women with urinary incontinence. To better understand the way in which these women live their sexuality, this dimension was placed into relation with couple satisfaction, with depression and, for the first time, with alexithymia, trying to determine if there is any correlation between these different variables.

Results: Sexuality plays an important role in women's lives, but in our study, it is a factor that seems a bit inconsistent. About the role of alexithymia, the sample does not differ from the population values, except for the third factor. Moreover, a high percentage seems to be aware of psychological problems, although more related to the past. Normally, couple happiness is expected to include a healthy sex life, but not so in this sample and regardless of age.

Conclusions: The results of the study may suggest that beyond the common symptom, urinary incontinence, women present different characteristics and various psychological functioning, even in the presence of a widespread sexual difficulty. In order to better understand the complex nature of the interplay between these different variables it would be appropriate both to carry out a careful inquiry on the couple's sexuality before the onset of incontinence symptoms and to consider the subjectivity of the experiences of each individual patient during clinical assessment.


Urinary incontinence; Sexuality; Women; Depression; Alexithymia; Couple satisfaction.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13129/2282-1619/mjcp-2923


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