, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 893-900
Date: 06 Jun 2008

Anorectal, bladder, and sexual function in females following colorectal surgery for carcinoma

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The aim of this study was to establish the incidence of potential postoperative anorectal, bladder, and sexual dysfunction in women following excision of rectal cancer with total mesorectal excision (TME).

Materials and methods

All women who underwent a transabdominal rectal resection with TME for cancer between 2000 and 2003 were included. Women with a colonic resection for cancer during the same time period served as the control group. Exclusion criteria were strict. Standardized questionnaires were sent to all patients.


Twenty-six patients fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were evaluated. Fifteen patients had TME and 11 patients had colonic resection. The median Wexner score showed a higher rate of anal incontinence in the rectal group. The difference was due to a higher rate of severe incontinence in the rectal group. The King’s Health Questionnaire showed normal urinary function in both groups. The Female Sexual Function Index showed worse sexual function in the rectal group, reaching statistical significance in the categories ‘arousal’ and ‘lubrication’.


After rectal excision, the women showed impairment of their anorectal and sexual function. Urinary function was normal. This is in contrast to the incidence of urinary dysfunction in men observed by others. Our study indicates that women seem to have less functional problems when compared to literature data on dysfunction in male following rectal surgery for cancer.