Improved Body Image After Uterovaginal Prolapse Surgery

August 30, 2022

While an individual’s body image is affected by many factors, it is believed that the health status of a woman’s reproductive organs can significantly influence how they view themselves.

Previous studies that used a modified Body Image Scale (BIS) to assess body image in women with pelvic organ prolapse found that they were more likely to feel self-conscious and rated their quality of life more poorly.

However, there is little existing research that assesses whether the type of prolapse surgery affects body image, sexual activity, and sexual function.

Mary Ackenbom, MD, MSc, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, collaborated with colleagues from other institutions to compare body image and sexual activity and function changes in women up to three years after sacrospinous ligament fixation with graft hysteropexy or vaginal hysterectomy with uterosacral ligament suspension.

Researchers conducted a secondary analysis of data from the Study of Uterine Prolapse Procedures Randomized Trial. The database included 175 women from nine clinical centers – 88 women underwent mesh hysteropexy and 87 women underwent hysterectomy.

Of 175 eligible participants, 169 (97%) completed the 3-year follow-up and 152 (87%) provided a BIS total score at 3 years.

The BIS, sexual activity status, Pelvic Organ Prolapse/Incontinence Sexual Questionnaire, and IUGA-Revised (PISQ-IR) scores were reported at baseline and 1.5, 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months after surgery.

Study results showed that mean BIS scores between women who underwent mesh hysteropexy and women who underwent hysterectomy were not significantly different. BIS scores improved in both groups by 1.5 months and were sustained through the 36-month follow-up with no differences between groups.

Researchers found that body image improved after either mesh hysteropexy or hysterectomy and that positive perceptions of body image were maintained over 3 years. Sexual activity status did change over time following prolapse surgery, which should be considered when evaluating sexual function post-treatment.

Read the full study here.

Reference

Rogers RG, Meyer I, Smith AL, Ackenbom M, Barden L, Korbly N, Mazloomdoost D, Thomas S, Nager C. Improved body image after uterovaginal prolapse surgery with or without hysterectomy. Int Urogynecol J. 2022 Jan;33(1):115-122. doi: 10.1007/s00192-021-04954-0. Epub 2021 Aug 25. PMID: 34432089; PMCID: PMC8738119.