Vaginal Mesh for Urinary Incontinence and Prolapse: Impact on Sexual Function

  • Nicole M. SzellEmail author
  • Jacquelyn Booher
  • Todd Campbell
Urology, Gynecology, and Endocrinology (J Simon and M Luria, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Urology, Gynecology, and Endocrinology


Purpose of Review

The evolution of vaginal mesh has had a large positive impact on quality of life for patients with stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse; for instance, the mid-urethral sling is considered the gold standard treatment for stress incontinence. There are unique side effects, however, for the use of mesh in surgical implantation, including infection, erosion, extrusion, and changes in urinary habits as well.

Recent Findings

A side effect that may be overlooked in these women undergoing vaginal mesh surgery is sexual dysfunction; while the surgery itself may strongly improve quality of life, there can be some detrimental sexual side effects that may hinder the patient’s quality of life or sexual function overall. Changes in sexual function can be encountered in anywhere from 5 to 20% of all women undergoing surgery for stress incontinence or vaginal prolapse, and the scope of these changes vary from positive to negative. These changes can be broken down by sub-topics explored in the FSFI including dyspareunia or pain, overall function, lubrication, and orgasm.


Sexual function is an often overlooked and underdiscussed topic in the medical field and between clinicians and patients overall. It is imperative that clinicians discuss any and all possible complications of mesh surgery with patients preoperatively, including any effects, both positive and negative, in regard to sexual function.


Mesh implant Pelvic organ prolapse Stress incontinence Vaginal mesh Prolapse repair Mesh sling 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Nicole Szell, Jacquelyn Booher, and Todd Campbell each declares that they have no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole M. Szell
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jacquelyn Booher
    • 3
  • Todd Campbell
    • 3
  1. 1.Advanced Urology InstituteClearwaterUSA
  2. 2.Michigan State University College of Osteopathic MedicineMadison HeightsUSA
  3. 3.St. John Providence Urologic SurgeryMichigan State University College of Osteopathic MedicineMadison HeightsUSA

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