A new method to measure vaginal sensibility

M. M. E. Lakeman, E. Laan, C. H. Vaart, J. P. Roovers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle*Academicpeer-review


Vaginal surgery may affect sexual function both positively and negatively. Possibly, negative consequences of surgical interventions on sexuality may be caused by reduced sensibility of the vaginal wall. To develop a new method to measure vaginal sensibility. We developed a technique to measure the sensibility of the vaginal wall consisting of a St Marks electrode on a gloved index finger, with a stimulating electrode mounted at the tip. Measurements were performed in four different target areas (caudal and cranial, posterior and anterior) by two independent female researchers in a random order. Subjects were 12 healthy women. The intra-observer reproducibility of both researchers was almost perfect (Pearsons-Rho correlation coefficient 0.77-0.96 < 0.001). The inter-observer reproducibility was moderate (Pearsons-Rho correlation coefficient 0.39-0.49). Both researchers measured increased sensibility in the cranial posterior vaginal wall relative to the cranial anterior vaginal wall, but for all measurements, researcher 2 obtained higher sensibility ratings than researcher 1. In addition, researcher 2 found a decreased sensibility in the cranial anterior vaginal wall for women not using oral contraceptives. Phase of the menstrual cycle did not influence vaginal sensibility. We developed a new instrument to measure vaginal sensibility. The instrument has excellent intra-observer reproducibility. This method is sufficiently sensitive so as to differentiate between anterior and posterior cranial vaginal wall sensibility, but outcome differs as a function of researcher. Further evaluation of the clinical use of this method is needed, provided that measurements are performed by the same researcher
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-756
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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