Relationships between pelvic floor symptoms and function in irritable bowel syndrome

G. Prott, L. Shim, R. Hansen, J. Kellow, A. Malcolm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Pelvic floor dyssynergia (PFD) within irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often overlooked and the relationship between symptoms and physiology is relatively unexplored. Our aims were to determine relationships between clinical features and anorectal function in non-diarrhea predominant IBS (non-D IBS) patients and whether certain clinical or physiological features predict PFD in IBS. Methods: Two groups of patients were evaluated. Group I: 32 female non-D IBS patients with ≥2 symptoms suggesting PFD underwent comprehensive symptom and anorectal function assessment. Group II: 32 female non-D IBS patients recruited from the community underwent symptom assessment. Key Results: Prevalence of PFD symptoms was similar in both groups. In group I patients, increased frequency of digitation was associated with a longer balloon expulsion time (P = 0.03). Higher scores for anal pain were associated with both a low resting anal pressure (P = 0.04) and a shorter duration of maximum squeeze (P = 0.03). Reduced perineal descent was associated with anxiety (P = 0.03) and depression (P = 0.01). A shorter duration of maximum squeeze was associated with higher parity (P = 0.02) and previous hysterectomy (P = 0.047). Duration of PFD symptoms was higher (P = 0.02) and maximum tolerated volume was lower (P = 0.05) in 22 patients with a physiological diagnosis of PFD compared to 10 without PFD. No symptoms independently predicted a physiological diagnosis of PFD. Conclusions & Inferences: Important relationships between certain PFD symptoms and disordered anorectal physiology have been demonstrated in these non-D IBS patients. However, symptoms alone could not predict PFD, and certain clinical features should therefore highlight the need for comprehensive anorectal function tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764-769
Number of pages6
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anorectal manometry
  • Digitation
  • Duration of maximum squeeze pressure
  • Pelvic floor dyssynergia
  • Perineal descent

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