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Questionnaire-based assessment of pelvic organ dysfunction in multiple system atrophy


  • Potential conflict of interest: None reported.


Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized clinically by any combination of autonomic, cerebellar, and extrapyramidal symptoms. Autonomic symptoms are usually severe, and urinary symptoms are one of the cardinal features of MSA. Bowel dysfunction and sexual dysfunction are also common in MSA. Quality of life (QOL) in patients with MSA is severely impaired by the presence of pelvic organ dysfunction. Therefore, we aimed to examine the prevalence of pelvic organ dysfunction in patients with MSA. We recruited 256 patients with MSA seen at our neurology clinic. The mean age was 62 years. The control group comprised 158 individuals, and the mean age was 52 years. We administered a questionnaire on pelvic organ dysfunction to the MSA and control groups. The questionnaire had sections focusing on the bladder, bowel, and sexual function. Dysfunction, as described in the responses, was evaluated as normal, mild (>once a month), moderate (>once a week), or severe (>once a day). The Mann-Whitney's U-test was used for statistical analysis. When compared with the control group, the prevalence of pelvic organ dysfunction in the MSA group was significantly higher for urinary storage and voiding dysfunction, bowel dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction. QOL in the MSA group was therefore significantly impaired because of urinary dysfunction (70%, 76%), bowel dysfunction (40% of the men), and sexual dysfunction (26%, 45%). Pelvic organ dysfunction is common in MSA, and QOL is severely impaired in patients with MSA. © 2009 Movement Disorder Society