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Urology. 2008 Jul;72(1):3-9. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2008.01.058. Epub 2008 Apr 2.

Does "normal" aging imply urinary, bowel, and erectile dysfunction? A general population survey.

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



We assessed if urinary, bowel, and sexual dysfunction and associated bother were part of the "normal" aging process in the general male Dutch population.


Randomly selected participants of a screening trial were mailed a questionnaire on dysfunction and bother in the urinary, bowel, and sexual domains. A Dutch version of the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC) was used.


Three thousand eight hundred ten (3810) men responded (81%), mean age 67 years, range 58 to 78. The prevalence of urinary dysfunction was low, and although the difference between younger versus older men was significant (P <0.001), it did not exceed the minimal important difference. Bowel dysfunction and bother were not related to age. Erectile dysfunction was reported by 19%, ranging from 12% in the youngest to 26% in the oldest group (P <0.001). The overall use of erectile aids was negatively associated with the satisfaction with sex life and positively with the importance attached to it (P <0.001), but not with age or sexual activity.


Urinary and bowel dysfunction were not part of the "normal" aging process. Erectile dysfunction was significantly more prevalent in older men. In men treated for localized prostate cancer, decreasing urinary or bowel function is thus not attributable to age, but may well be related to prior treatment. Decreasing erectile function, however, may be attributable to other causes as well. These data provide a benchmark for urologic functioning in men after treatment relative to age-related patterns, and will enable better interpretation of treatment outcomes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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