OBJECTIVE To describe and compare long-term defecation disturbances in patients who had undergone a cystectomy due to urinary bladder cancer with non-continent urostomies, continent reservoirs and orthotopic neobladder urinary diversions. PATIENTS AND METHODS During their follow-up we attempted to contact all men and women aged 30-80 years who had undergone cystectomy and urinary diversion at seven Swedish hospitals. During a qualitative phase we identified defecation disturbances as a distressful symptom and included this item in a study-specific questionnaire together with free-hand comments. The patients completed the questionnaire at home. Outcome variables were dichotomized and the results are presented as relative risks with 95% confidence interval. RESULTS The questionnaire was returned from 452 (92%) of 491 identified patients. Up to 30% reported problems with the physiological emptying process of stool (bowel movement, sensory rectal function, awareness of need for defecation, motoric rectal and anal function, straining ability). A sense of decreased straining capacity was reported by 20% of the men and women with non-continent urostomy and 14% and 8% of those with continent reservoirs and orthotopic neobladders, respectively. CONCLUSIONS Of the cystectomized individuals 30% reported problems with the physiological emptying process of stool (bowel movement, sensory rectal function, awareness of need for defecation, motoric rectal and anal function, straining ability). Those wanting to improve the situation for bladder cancer survivors may consider communicating before surgery the possibility of stool-emptying problems, and asking about them after surgery.
- faecal straining capacity
- urinary diversion