Background: Sexual dysfunction is a recognized complication in men undergoing pelvic surgery for rectal cancer. There is, however, little information on the influence of such surgery on sexual health in women. The aim of this study was to evaluate sexual health in women undergoing pelvic surgery for rectal cancer.Methods: The study group included women who underwent pelvic surgery for rectal cancer at the Colorectal Surgical Unit, Fremantle Hospital between 1996 and 2002. The patients were contacted by telephone and invited to complete an anonymized questionnaire on sexual health. A control group comprised women who had undergone surgery for colonic cancer during the same interval.Results: Fifty women in the study group were contacted, of whom 22 completed questionnaires. Sixty-two women in the control group were contacted and 19 completed questionnaires. Women in the study group were significantly younger than those in the control group. Compared with those in the control group, women who had undergone pelvic surgery were significantly more likely to feel less attractive, feel that the vagina was either too short or less elastic during intercourse, experience superficial pain during intercourse, and complain of faecal soiling during intercourse. Women in the study group were concerned that these limitations would persist for the rest of their lives. There were no differences between the two groups in relationship to sexual arousal or libido.Conclusion: Pelvic surgery for rectal cancer has a significant influence on sexual health in women.
|Journal||British Journal of Surgery|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|