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Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2003 Jun;14(2):128-32. Epub 2003 Mar 12.

The association of obstructive defecation, lower urinary tract dysfunction and the benign joint hypermobility syndrome: a case-control study.

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  • 1Urogynaecology Unit, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Australia.


It has been suggested that, apart from obstetric trauma, chronic straining at stool may also result in pudendal nerve damage, contributing to the etiology of genuine stress incontinence (GSI). The benign joint hypermobility syndrome (BJHS) has been associated with rectal as well as uterovaginal prolapse, suggesting that connective tissue abnormalities may also be implicated. This study was undertaken in order to further investigate whether - and if so, why - an association may exist between symptoms of obstructive defecation, lifetime constipation, chronic heavy lifting and lower urinary tract (LUT) dysfunction. Cases were female patients referred for urodynamic assessment with symptoms of LUT dysfunction. Controls were age-, sex- and postcode-matched community controls. Both cases and controls were assessed using a detailed questionnaire that also asked about symptoms of BJHS. Cases were also divided into their urodynamic classification of LUT dysfunction. All symptoms of obstructive defecation (52.3% vs 33.6%, P=0.00003), as well as chronic straining at stool (38.6% vs 23.4%, P=0.0005), were significantly more common in women with LUT dysfunction than in community controls. BJHS, chronic heavy lifting and a history of uterovaginal prolapse were significantly associated with patients with LUT and obstructive defecation compared to those with LUT dysfunction alone. Overall, symptoms of obstructed defecation were not more prevalent in any one urodynamic diagnostic group than in others. However, childhood constipation and current constipation were significantly more prevalent in women with voiding dysfunction than in those with other urodynamic diagnoses (16.7% vs 5.5%, P = 0.0030 and 13.0% vs 5.7%, P = 0.017). We concluded that women with LUT dysfunction are more likely to have symptoms of obstructive defecation than are community controls. Connective tissue disorders such as BJHS may be an important factor in this association.

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