Incontinence and sexuality in later life
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Incontinence and sexuality in later life

Dawne Garrett Professional lead for older people and dementia care, Royal College of Nursing, London and Florence Nightingale Scholar
Karen Tomlin Clinical lead for planned care, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Dawne Garrett and Karen Tomlin discuss the physiological changes that can affect sexual function as people age and how nurses are best placed to provide sensitive assessment of the need for treatment

This article explores the interrelated aspects of incontinence and sexuality in older age. It describes the physiological changes that may have an effect on sexual function and the genitourinary system as people age. The enduring importance of sexual intimacy is discussed. Treatments for incontinence and to improve sexual function are explored. The authors conclude that nurses, particularly those involved in continence management, have a role in ensuring sensitive assessment and access to treatment, which can support many older people to maintain fulfilling sexual activity.

Nursing Older People. 27, 6, 26-29. doi: 10.7748/nop.27.6.26.e717


Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 09 April 2015

Accepted: 01 June 2015