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Loyola Clinical Trial to Determine Impact of Female Incontinence on Sex and Relationships

Nationally renowned researchers looking for couples to enroll in study

MAYWOOD, Ill. – A clinical trial is under way at Loyola University Health System to evaluate the impact of urge urinary incontinence (UUI) on a couple’s relationship and sex life.

“Urinary incontinence is a socially debilitating disease that affects thousands of women,” said Elizabeth Mueller MD, director, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, LUHS. “These women often experience anxiety about physical intimacy due to fear of an accident during sex. This apprehension may limit physical intimacy and lead to dissatisfaction in a relationship."

Few studies have examined the role of urinary incontinence on the dynamics of an intimate relationship and none have evaluated the impact of successful treatment. Loyola researchers will determine if couples have lower levels of relationship satisfaction and sexual function when the female partner has UUI and if successfully treating this issue will improve these aspects of the relationship.

This study also will evaluate which aspects of relationships are most affected by UUI. Loyola researchers believe that men tend to identify changes in sexual intimacy based on intercourse frequency, whereas women typically identify changes with other interactions such as handholding and communication.

“Chronic illness places emotional, physical and financial burdens on relationships,” said Linda Brubaker, MD, dean, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “This trial will allow us to better understand the social and emotional impact that urinary incontinence has on the well-being of an intimate relationship and the outcome when we treat these patients."

Loyola researchers are looking to recruit couples for this study. Study participants will complete a series of questionnaires, which researchers will evaluate before and after treatment. Couples can call (708) 216-2067 to determine if they are eligible.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Media Relations

Nora Plunkett
Media Relations
(708) 216-6268
nplunkett@lumc.edu
Anne Dillon
Media Relations
(708) 216-8232
adillon@lumc.edu