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Pelvic floor complaints in gastroenterology practice: results of a survey in the netherlands

Abstract

Objective The pelvic floor is an integrated structure; dysfunctions may lead to a wide range of symptoms, involving voiding, defecation and sexual functioning (SF). Functional symptoms such as constipation and lower abdominal pain are often caused by pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD), and they highly impact the quality of life. Multiple specialists are responsible for a specific part of the pelvic floor, but its treatment asks for a holistic approach. The authors are still unaware of gastroenterologists' knowledge on PFD or whether they are addressing pelvic floor complaints in their daily practice.

Design A 42-itemed anonymous questionnaire was mailed to all 402 members of the Dutch Society of Gastroenterology (gastroenterologists and residents-in-training).

Results 169 (42%) questionnaires were analysed. Most gastroenterologists address lower urinary tract symptoms in their history-taking, 92% in female patients and 84% in male patients. When patients indicate irritable bowel syndrome-like complaints, more than 60% of the physicians inquire about SF to their female patients, compared with 38% inquiries to male patients (p<0.001). A reason not to inquire about SF is a lack of knowledge about female and male sexuality (19% and 23%, respectively). Forty-six per cent of the respondents regard it rather important to receive more training on PFD in male patients versus 61% in female patients.

Conclusion Awareness of PFD is not yet routinely integrated into the history taken by gastroenterologists.

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