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Hum Reprod. 2011 Sep;26(9):2330-5. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der190. Epub 2011 Jun 24.

Pathophysiological approach to bowel dysfunction after segmental colorectal resection for deep endometriosis infiltrating the rectum: a preliminary study.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France.



Colorectal segmental resection is performed worldwide in a majority of women presenting with symptomatic deep endometriosis infiltrating the rectum. The aim of the present study was to investigate the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in post-operative digestive dysfunction.


We selected patients managed by colorectal resection for rectal endometriosis, who had developed post-operative severe constipation and whose follow up was superior to 24 months. To assess the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of this complaint, we performed a step-by-step work up including: low digestive tract endoscopy, colonic transit time measurement and when appropriate anorectal manometry, electromyography and defecographic evaluation.


Five out of 25 (20%) patients, whose age ranged from 27 to 41 years, were investigated for severe post-operative terminal constipation. Four different mechanisms responsible for terminal constipation were identified: tight stenosis of the colorectal anastomosis, post-operative neurological sequelae, colonic intussusception through the colorectal anastomosis and transit constipation that developed post surgery.


Post-operative constipation is a frequent complaint in women managed by colorectal resection for rectal endometriosis. A multidisciplinary approach is mandatory as pathophysiologic mechanisms may vary and prove difficult to understand. The risk of post-operative bowel dysfunction following colorectal endometriosis must be taken into account whenever this technique is proposed in young women presenting with a benign disease such as deep endometriosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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