Journal of Neurology

, Volume 246, Issue 11, pp 1027–1032

Urinary, faecal and sexual dysfunction in patients with multiple sclerosis

  • A. Hennessey
  • N. P. Robertson
  • R. Swingler
  • D. A. S. Compston
Original communication

DOI: 10.1007/s004150050508

Cite this article as:
Hennessey, A., Robertson, N., Swingler, R. et al. J Neurol (1999) 246: 1027. doi:10.1007/s004150050508


The prevalence and nature of bladder and bowel dysfunction were examined in a population-based study of 221 patients with multiple sclerosis who returned postal questionnaires. This preliminary investigation was supplemented by personal review which also provided information on sexual dysfunction in 174 and laboratory and urodynamic tests in 152 participants. Thirty of 221 (14%) currently used an indwelling catheter, and 84 of the remainding190 (44%) reported symptoms of urinary dysfunction, of which the most common were urgency and frequency. Thirteen of 144 (9%) patients had biochemical evidence of renal dysfunction, and 40 of 132 (30%) had infected urine samples. Eleven of 54 patients in whom investigation of upper urinary tract was thought to be appropriate demonstrated abnormalities. Sixty-four of 221 (29%) patients had experienced faecal incontinence, and 120 of 221 (54%) were constipated. Fifty-six of 68 (82%) men and 55 of 106 (52%) women reported a deterioration in sexual activity, the commonest symptoms being erectile failure in men and fatigue in women.

Key words Multiple sclerosis Bladder dysfunction Bowel dysfunction Sexual dysfunction 

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Hennessey
    • 2
  • N. P. Robertson
    • 1
  • R. Swingler
    • 4
  • D. A. S. Compston
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation, Morriston Hospital, Swansea, SA6 6NL, UKGB
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, University of Wales College of Medicine, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF4 4XN, UKGB
  3. 3.University of Cambridge Neurology Unit, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ, UK e-mail:, Tel.: +44-1223-216751, Fax: +44-1223-336941GB
  4. 4.Dundee Royal Infirmary, Barrack Road, Dundee, DD1 9ND, UKGB

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