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Pelvic Floor Affects Risk of Constipation in Older Women

Anterior colpocele protects against constipation, while posterior colpocele increases risk

MONDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- In older women with urinary symptoms or genital prolapse, a clear relationship exists between constipation and posterior aspects of the pelvic floor support, according to a report in the July issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Marco Soligo, M.D., of the University of Milan-Bicocca-Bassini Hospital in Italy, and colleagues reviewed the records of 786 women with an average age of 60 years who had urinary symptoms or genital prolapse (44 percent had genital prolapse greater or equal to 2 degree according to the Half Way System). The women underwent a urogynecologic exam and were asked about bowel habits.

Thirty-two percent of the women experienced constipation, and those women were more likely to have a posterior colpocele than non-constipated women (35 percent versus 19 percent). Overall, the risk of constipation was 2.31 times higher in women with a posterior colpocele than other women. By contrast, an anterior colpocele appeared to protect against constipation (odds ratio, 0.80). There was no association between genital prolapse and constipation.

"This study has highlighted the importance of taking a careful bowel history and performing meticulous pelvic floor examination when evaluating patients with urogynecologic symptoms," the authors conclude.

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