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Bladder, Bowel, and Sexual Problems in MS and QOL

Mult Scler Relat Disord; ePub 2017 Dec 14; Wang, et al

Bladder, bowel, and sexual problems remain common among persons with multiple sclerosis (MS), and treatment satisfaction is low, according to a recent study. In the fall 2010, researchers surveyed participants in the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) Registry regarding the severity of being bothered by bladder, bowel, and sexual symptoms, their satisfaction of health providers’ inquiry and treatment with these symptoms, and whether their quality of life had changed with the treatment. They found:

  • Of 9,341 respondents included in the study, 7,720 (77.4%) were female and their mean (SD) age was 50.3 (10.5) years.
  • 91% of participants were mildly, moderately, or severely bothered by bladder, bowel or sexual symptoms.
  • Severity of disability (measured using the Patient Determined Disease Steps), having a relapse in the last 6 months, and catheter use were consistently associated with being bothered (vs not bothered) by each of the 3 symptoms.
  • Among respondents, 5,764 (62.1%) reported that their MS health providers asked about bladder problems, 4,523 (51.1%) about bowel problems, and 1,890 (20.6%) about sexual problems.


Wang G, Marrie RA, Fox RJ, et al. Treatment satisfaction and bothersome bladder, bowel, sexual symptoms in multiple sclerosis. [Published online ahead of print December 14, 2017]. Mult Scler Relat Disord. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2017.12.006.