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

Park SE, Elliott S, Noonan VK, Thorogood NP, Fallah N, Aludino A, Dvorak MF. J Spinal Cord Med. 2016 Aug 31:1-12. doi: 10.1080/10790268.2016.1213554. [Epub ahead of print]. 

Summary: Bowel, bladder and sexual problems are common after traumatic SCI and are among the highest priority to improve an individual’s life. We looked at these problems in individuals living with injuries to their thoracolumbar region, as the location of this type of injury corresponds to the nerves that control bowel, bladder and sexual function. Of the 51 individuals who participated in the study, 59% had bladder incontinence, 54% bowel incontinence, and 61% had sexual dysfunction – almost 30% had all three problems. This is the first study looking at the combination of these problems on overall health in this population. Importantly, it showed that these problems often occur together and that care providers need to have standard tests for individuals with SCI to identify these problems in order to help optimize care and improve overall health status. We plan to study these problems in a larger group of people using new standard tests to confirm our results.