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Keywords:

  • Hysterectomy;
  • micturition symptoms;
  • stress urinary incontinence

Please cite this paper as: Lakeman M, van der Vaart C, Roovers J. A long-term prospective study to compare the effects of vaginal and abdominal hysterectomy on micturition and defecation. BJOG 2011;118:1511–1517.

Objective  We compared micturition and defecation symptoms with the route of hysterectomy over a period of 10 years.

Design  Prospective multicentre observational study.

Setting  Thirteen teaching hospitals in the Netherlands.

Population  A total of 430 women who underwent vaginal or abdominal hysterectomy for benign conditions (pelvic organ prolapse excluded).

Methods  The presence and discomfort experienced as a result of micturition and defecation symptoms were assessed using validated questionnaires before surgery, and at 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and 10 years after surgery. Statistically significant differences in symptoms between vaginal and abdominal hysterectomy were adjusted for pre-operative differences in uterine descent, uterine size, parity and indication for hysterectomy.

Main outcome measure  Presence of bothersome micturition and defecation symptoms, as assessed by the Urogenital Distress Inventory (UDI) and Defecation Distress Inventory (DDI).

Results  Ten years after hysterectomy the response rate was 73%. Preoperatively, no differences were observed in the prevalence of micturition symptoms between patients who underwent vaginal and abdominal hysterectomy. However, 10 years after vaginal hysterectomy, significantly more women had been treated for micturition symptoms (18 versus 8%; = 0.02; adjusted OR 3.8, 95% CI 1.2–11.6). Defecation symptoms also seemed more common after vaginal hysterectomy (58 versus 46%; = 0.08). After adjustment, no statistically significant differences in defecation symptoms were found.

Conclusions  Despite the same incidence of micturition symptoms before surgery, patients undergoing vaginal hysterectomy are more likely to seek medical help for micturition symptoms. Defecation symptoms were also more common after vaginal hysterectomy; however, this difference was not statistically significant.