The bladder and bowel share the pelvic floor and, in spite of known (and unknown) synergies, limited research has been undertaken on this topic. There are, for example, few studies exploring the impact of bladder and bowel dysfunction on social activities and quality of life.
However, two new studies investigate this hot topic in more detail. People with neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction (NLUTD) secondary to spinal cord injury and spina bifida have been observed. From the new evidence, it is immediately clear that bladder and bowel problems are common and a source of major concern for people with spinal cord injury and other neurogenic damage.
This is summarized in a very clear and precise way in one of the patient reports from the study by Braaf et al. 2017.
And the bowel and bladder issues are the most debilitating and the most important as far as managing the spinal cord injury….Generally, people don’t understand that at all. And you don’t feel like enlightening them.
This notion is also reflected in quantitative results, showing the impact of fecal and urinary incontinence on health-related quality of life. It is also evident that both fecal and urinary incontinence have a strong impact on everyday living and lower quality of life.
Social activity and relationship changes experienced by people with bowel and bladder dysfunction following spinal cord injury.
Author and Origin
Braaf S, Lennox A, Nunn A, Gabbe B. Australia
Observational interview study investigating the social impact of bladder and bowel dysfunction in 22 patients with spinal cord injury.
Bladder and bowel dysfunction have a high social impact and affect relationships. Management of bladder and bowel dysfunction is associated with issues (e.g. cleanliness of bathrooms in public areas) that negatively affect social engagement.
Study describing the social impact of bladder and bowel dysfunction in people with spinal cord injury.
Study further described in highlight section.
All Incontinence is Not Created Equal: Impact of Urinary and Fecal Incontinence on Quality of Life in Adults with Spina Bifida.
Author and Origin
Szymanski KM, Cain MP, Whittam B, Kaefer M, Rink RC, Misseri R. US
Observational survey in 518 adult patients with spina bi da, investigating the impact of fecal and urinary incontinence on health-related quality of life.
In total, 55% had fecal and 76% urinary incontinence. 47% were troubled by both types. Fecal and urinary incontinence independently lower health-related quality of life.
Study quantifying the impact of fecal and urinary incontinence on quality of life in adults with spina bifida.