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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Dec;179(6 Pt 1):1446-9; discussion 1449-50.

Posterior vaginal prolapse and bowel function.

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  • 1Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.



This study's objectives were to describe symptoms related to bowel dysfunction in women with uterovaginal prolapse and to compare these symptoms according to extent of posterior vaginal prolapse.


One hundred forty-three women completed a questionnaire assessment of bowel function and underwent standardized physical examination according to the International Continence Society's system for grading uterovaginal prolapse.


The mean age was 59.2 years (SD 11.8 years); 78% of the women were postmenopausal. According to the furthest extent of posterior vaginal prolapse at point Bp, 22 (15.5%) were in stage 0, 46 (32.4%) were in stage I, 50 (35.2%) were in stage II, 23 (16.2%) were in stage III, and 1 (0.7%) was in stage IV. Ninety-two percent of women reported having bowel movements at least every other day. When asked whether straining was required for them to have a bowel movement, 38 (26.6%) reported never or rarely, 71 (49.6%) reported sometimes, 20 (14.0%) reported usually, and 14 (9.8%) reported always. When asked whether they ever needed to help stool come out by pushing with a finger in the vagina or rectum, 98 (69.0%) reported never or rarely, 30 (21.1%) reported sometimes, 8 (5.6%) reported usually, and 6 (4.2%) reported always. Twenty-three women (16.1%) had fecal incontinence, with 11 having loss of control of stool less often than once a month and 12 having it more often than once a month. When asked whether to rate how much they were bothered by their bowel function on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all and 10 being extremely, 51.7% of women chose 1 to 4, 20.3% chose 5 to 7, and 28% chose >/=8. There were no clinically significant associations between any of the questions related to bowel function and severity of posterior vaginal prolapse.


Women with uterovaginal prolapse frequently have symptoms related to bowel dysfunction, but this is not associated with the severity of posterior vaginal prolapse.

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