Objectives To determine the prevalence and type of bowel symptoms, and their impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in adults with cerebral palsy (CP). Design Prospective cross-sectional study. Setting Urban, outpatient rehabilitation facility. Participants Adults with CP (N=91; 46 men, 45 women; mean age, 36y; age range, 18-79y). Intervention Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures Participants were interviewed using standardized instruments to assess the frequency and types of bowel dysfunction. The International Consultation of Incontinence Questionnaire-Bowel was used to assess bowel incontinence and impact on quality of life, and constipation presence was determined using the Rome III criteria for constipation. Constipation symptoms were rated by the Patient Assessment of Constipation-Symptom Scale. Participants' mobility status was classified using the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). Interactions between mobility measures, anthropometric measures, and bowel symptoms were assessed. Results Of the 91 participants enrolled, 62.6% were GMFCS IV or V. Twenty-eight participants (30.8%) reported severe difficulty with control of liquid stool (rating never or rarely); these participants were more likely to have a greater GMFCS level (P=.0004). Twenty-six participants (28.6%) reported that bowel function caused embarrassment some/most/all of the time. Fifty-nine participants (64.8%) met criteria for chronic constipation, which did not differ by GMFCS levels. Overall, 57.1% of participants reported that bowel symptoms interfered with life; 40.7% reported moderate to severe interference. Conclusions Bowel symptoms were frequent, a source of embarrassment, and impacted HRQOL in these adults with CP. Addressing bowel-related symptoms has the potential to improve HRQOL in these adults.
- Cerebral palsy
- Fecal incontinence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation