Questionnaire-based assessment of pelvic organ dysfunction in Parkinson's disease

Auton Neurosci. 2001 Sep 17;92(1-2):76-85. doi: 10.1016/S1566-0702(01)00295-8.


Although patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) experience pelvic organ dysfunction of the urinary bladder, bowel and genital organs, an accurate incidence of the dysfunction and its characteristics have yet to be ascertained. We devised a detailed questionnaire on these three pelvic organ functions in PD patients and control subjects, in our search for a hallmark that would distinguish between the two groups. The PD group comprised 115 patients; 52 men and 63 women, age range 35-69 (average 59) years old, average duration of illness 6 years, median Hoehn and Yahr stage 3. All were taking levodopa with/without dopamine agonists. The control group comprised 391 local individuals who were undergoing an annual health survey; 271 men and 120 women, age range 30-69 (average 48) years old. The questionnaire had three parts: bladder (nine questions), bowel (four questions), and sexual (three questions for women, five for men) function. Each question was scored from 0 (none) to 3 (severe) with an additional quality of life (QOL) index scored from 0 (satisfied) to 3 (extremely dissatisfied). The completion rate was 100% for bladder and bowel functions, whereas for sexual function, it was 95% (control) and 88% (PD) for men and 82% (control) and 60% (PD) for women. As compared with the control group, the frequency of dysfunction in the PD group was significantly higher for urinary urgency (women 42%, men 54%), daytime frequency (28%, 16%), nighttime frequency (53%, 63%), urgency incontinence (25%, 28%), retardation (44% of men), prolongation/poor stream (men 70%), straining (women 28%); constipation (63%, 69%), difficulty in expulsion (men 57%), diarrhea (men 21%); decrease in libido (84%, 83%), decrease in sexual intercourse (55%, 88%), decrease in orgasm (men 87%), and in men, decreases in erection (79%) and ejaculation (79%). The QOL index for the PD patients was significantly higher for bladder (27%, 28%) and bowel (46%, 59%) but not for sexual dysfunction, despite the group's high prevalence of sexual dysfunction. In the PD patients, fecal incontinence was associated with urinary incontinence. Stress urinary incontinence and a decrease in libido were more common in women than in men. Bladder and bowel dysfunction, but not sexual dysfunction increased with the Hoehn and Yahr stage. Sexual dysfunction, but neither bladder nor bowel dysfunction, increased with age. Patients taking levodopa and bromocriptine more frequently had bladder (voiding phase) dysfunction than those taking levodopa only. The findings show that bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction are all prominent in patients with PD. Amelioration of pelvic organ dysfunction, particularly bowel dysfunction which most affects the quality of life, therefore should be a primary target in the treatment of patients with PD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Erectile Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Fecal Incontinence / diagnosis
  • Fecal Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Fecal Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Pelvis
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Urinary Bladder / physiopathology
  • Urinary Incontinence / diagnosis
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / physiopathology