Sexual Activity and Dyspareunia After Pelvic Organ Prolapse Surgery: A 5-Year Nationwide Follow-up Study

Olga Wihersaari, Päivi Karjalainen, Anna Maija Tolppanen, Nina Mattsson, Kari Nieminen, Jyrki Jalkanen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Background: Even though surgery generally improves sexual function and alleviates dyspareunia related to pelvic organ prolapse (POP), knowledge of the long-term effects is scarce. Objective: To describe changes in sexual activity and dyspareunia rates after POP surgery and to identify potential risk factors for the occurrence of dyspareunia. Design, setting, and participants: This was a prospective longitudinal cohort study of women aged over 18 yr undergoing POP surgery in Finland during 2015. Out of 3515 participants, sexual activity and dyspareunia data were available at baseline, 6 mo, 2 yr, and 5 yr for 79%, 68%, 63%, and 57%, respectively. Intervention: Native tissue, transvaginal mesh, and abdominal mesh repair. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Rates of sexual activity and dyspareunia were assessed using the Pelvic Organ Prolapse/Urinary Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire (PISQ-12) at baseline and at 6 mo, 2 yr, and 5 yr after surgery. As a secondary outcome, risk factors for overall, persisting, and de novo dyspareunia were assessed using logistic regression models. Results and limitations: The proportion of sexually active women increased from 40.7% to 43% after surgery. Preoperative dyspareunia resolved in >50% of cases during the first 6 mo, irrespective of the surgical approach. De novo dyspareunia rates were low at all time points (1.9–3.1%). Several potential risk factors associated with preoperative and postoperative dyspareunia were identified: younger age, lower preoperative body mass index, lower prolapse stage at baseline, either pelvic pain or dyspareunia at baseline, prior surgery (stress urinary incontinence surgery, posterior colporrhaphy, POP surgery, hysterectomy), and posterior repair. Conclusions: Dyspareunia is significantly reduced after POP repair irrespective of the surgical approach. However, multiple factors seem to be associated with persisting and de novo symptoms, which should be considered in preoperative counseling. Patient summary: Our 5-year follow-up study demonstrates that surgery to repair pelvic organ prolapse (POP) in women improves sexual activity and reduces painful intercourse. Multiple factors, such as preoperative pain, previous POP surgery, and prolapse stage, may be associated with painful intercourse after surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Urology Open Science
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Dyspareunia
  • Female sexual dysfunction
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Prolapse surgery
  • Sexual activity

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sexual Activity and Dyspareunia After Pelvic Organ Prolapse Surgery: A 5-Year Nationwide Follow-up Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this