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J Spinal Cord Med. 2017 Sep;40(5):548-559. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2016.1213554. Epub 2016 Aug 31.

Impact of bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction on health status of people with thoracolumbar spinal cord injuries living in the community.

Author information

1
a Rick Hansen Institute , Vancouver , BC , Canada.
2
b Department of Psychiatry , University of British Columbia , Vancouver , BC , Canada.
3
c Urologic Sciences , University of British Columbia , Vancouver , BC , Canada.
4
d International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) , University of British Columbia , Vancouver , BC , Canada.
5
e Vancouver Sperm Retrieval Clinic, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority , Vancouver , BC , Canada.
6
f G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Center , Sexual Health Rehabilitation Service , Vancouver , BC , Canada.
7
g Division of Spine, Department of Orthopaedics , University of British Columbia , Vancouver , BC , Canada.
8
h Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine , University of British Columbia , Vancouver , BC , Canada.
9
i Vancouver Spine Surgery Institute , Vancouver General Hospital , Vancouver , BC , Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The disruption of autonomic function following a spinal cord injury (SCI) is common and can negatively affect quality of life. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence of bladder/bowel incontinence and sexual dysfunction in community-dwelling individuals with a thoracolumbar SCI and examine the impact on general physical and mental health status.

METHODS:

Participants who sustained a traumatic SCI to the thoracolumbar region of the spinal cord and classified as American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS) A to D were recruited. Demographic, injury data, MRI classification and neurological data were collected on admission. At follow-up, the neurological data, a questionnaire collecting participant-reported secondary health conditions (SHCs) (e.g. bladder incontinence, depression etc.) following SCI and health status measured by Short Form-36 were obtained. Regression models determined the association of health status with demographic/injury-related data, types and number of SHCs.

RESULTS:

Of the 51 participants, 58.8% reported bladder incontinence, 54.0% bowel incontinence, 60.8% sexual dysfunction and 29.4% had all three. The regression models demonstrated that age at injury, bowel incontinence, sexual dysfunction, presence of pain, motor score at follow-up and the number of SHCs were significant predictors of health status. The number of SHCs was more predictive than all other demographic and injury variables for health status.

CONCLUSION:

Results highlight the high prevalence of self-reported bowel/bladder incontinence and sexual dysfunction in the traumatic thoracolumbar SCI population and support the need for standardized assessments. Several demographic, injury-related and SHCs impacted health status and should be considered for the management of individuals living in the community.

KEYWORDS:

Fecal incontinence; Quality of Life; Sexual dysfunction; Spinal cord injuries; Urinary incontinence

PMID:
27576584
PMCID:
PMC5815154
DOI:
10.1080/10790268.2016.1213554
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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