Pelvic organ prolapse and urogynecological assessment in women with spinal cord injury

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Marlene Elmelund, Fin Biering-Sørensen, Mette Hornum Bing, Niels Klarskov

STUDY DESIGN: Observational cross-sectional study.

OBJECTIVES: Due to weakened pelvic floor muscles, the risk of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) may increase after a spinal cord injury (SCI); hence, the aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of POP after SCI and to evaluate the need for urogynecological consultations offered to women with SCI.

SETTING: Clinic for Spinal Cord Injuries, Rigshospitalet, Denmark.

METHODS: Women with SCI who visited our SCI-clinic during January 2013-January 2018 were offered a specialized urogynecological consultation. Any symptoms of POP, urinary/fecal incontinence, or bladder/bowel emptying problems were registered, and POP was classified according to the POP quantification system during a pelvic examination. Differences in baseline characteristics between women with POP stage 0-1 and POP stage ≥2 were investigated.

RESULTS: A total of 98 women were included in the study. Fourteen women (14%) reported POP symptoms and 21 women (21%) had anatomical POP stage ≥2. The group with POP stage ≥2 had a significantly higher age, higher parity, more with vaginal delivery, and more postmenopausal women, but the groups did not differ on median time after injury, neurological level, and completeness of injury. A total of 71% experienced urinary incontinence, 27% experienced fecal incontinence, 63% experienced bladder emptying problems, and 70% experienced bowel emptying problems. Consequently, 65% received treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Women with SCI are not in increased risk of developing anatomical POP. Nonetheless, the high occurrence of other urogynecological issues and the high treatment-rate supports the need for specialized urogynecological consultations offered to women with SCI.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSpinal Cord
Pages (from-to)18-25
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Adult, Aged, Cross-Sectional Studies, Fecal Incontinence/diagnosis, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Needs Assessment, Pelvic Organ Prolapse/diagnosis, Risk Assessment, Severity of Illness Index, Spinal Cord Injuries/complications, Urinary Incontinence/diagnosis

ID: 224761085