From the Journals

Bladder injection may improve sexual function



An injection to the bladder may help improve sexual function along with relieving symptoms, according to a recent statistical analysis.

In a prospective observational study, 32 women with wet idiopathic overactive bladder received a 100 U/10 mL injection of onabotulinumtoxinA (onaBoNT-A) to their detrusor muscle while sedated.

The women in the study had overactive bladder syndrome with urgency urinary incontinence that was refractory to more conservative treatments. All were aged 18 years or older, sexually active, and in a relationship with the same partner for more than 3 months.

The researchers sought to distinguish the effect of the injection treatment on sexual function for women with an idiopathic, rather than neurogenic, version of the syndrome. Sexual function was assessed through a 19-item questionnaire, the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI), before and after the treatment. To determine the efficacy of the treatment, participants kept a 3-day voiding diary, and completed two more forms: an overactive bladder screener questionnaire and the International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire Short Form.

Most of the participants (88.2%) saw an improvement in their overactive bladder symptoms. They also reported statistically meaningful improvement in sexual function on the FSFI, and specifically for arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and satisfaction, though not for desire and pain (average FSFI total score before and after treatment, 20.30 vs. 24.91; P = .0008).

“Although voiding diaries and questionnaires on urinary symptoms showed an improvement after onaBoNT-A injection, we documented a significant correlation only between the reduction of episodes of [urgency urinary incontinence] and improvement of FSFI total score. This finding shows that, in our population, the most relevant urinary symptom reducing the sexual function is urgency urinary incontinence,” Matteo Balzarro, MD, of Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Integrata of Verona, Italy, and his coauthors wrote in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.

The researchers noted that the small sample size resulted from multiple exclusion criteria applied to an already small population of 157 patients. They also remarked that a control group – which was absent from their study – would be difficult to have because of “ethical considerations.”

The researchers reported having no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Balzarro M et al. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2018 Jun;225:228-31.

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