Lower bowel function in urinary incontinent women, urinary continent women and in controls


  • Conflict of interest: none.

  • +Heinz Koelbl led the review process.



The anorectum and the lower urinary tract (LUT) are closely related. Clinically, it is important for caregivers to identify the presence of concomitant pathology as early in the diagnostic process as possible. This study evaluates lower bowel symptoms (LBS) in women with different types of urinary incontinence (UI), and compares the outcome with continent women and with a female control group.


Female patients, consulting at the Functional Unit of our Urology Department, with or without UI, were included in the study (URO patients). A female control group was recruited at the Orthopedic and the General Internal Medicine Consultation and among co-workers from the hospital (CONTROL group). All were asked to complete a validated, self-administered questionnaire, which identified the possible presence of UI, allowed categorization by type of UI, and questioned LBS.


URO patients had, regardless of presence and type of UI, more complaints of fecal incontinence (FI) and of constipation than the CONTROL group. Patients with Urge UI and Mixed UI had significantly more difficulty postponing defecation and significantly more FI than Stress UI (SUI) patients and than continent URO patients (27% vs. 8%). More SUI patients reported straining during defecation.


Our data confirm that in patients with functional problems of the LUT, the prevalence of LBS is high. Bowel symptoms differ in different types of UI. Neurourol. Urodyn. 30:138–143, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.