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Urogynaecological and obstetric issues in women with the exstrophy-epispadias complex.

OBJECTIVE: To review of the sexual and urogynaecological issues faced by a large cohort of women with the exstrophy-epispadias complex (EEC).

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The study comprised 83 women and girls with EEC; a confidential survey was mailed to identify their social and sexual concerns. Fifty-six women had classical bladder exstrophy (CBE), 13 had female epispadias (FE) and 14 had cloacal exstrophy (CE). Data on the initial method of reconstruction and urogynaecological problems were obtained from a review of the hospital records. Information on continence, infection and sexual function was obtained from 34 completed surveys.

RESULTS: The bladder was closed in 51 patients with CBE and 13 with CE. Urinary calculi developed in 10 patients with CBE, two with FE and three with CE. Vaginal and uterine prolapse occurred an earlier age in patients with EEC. Eight women had 13 pregnancies, eight of which resulted in normal healthy children. Overall continence was achieved in 85% of the women surveyed. Urinary tract infections remained a frequent problem for women with EEC; only 27% of respondents indicated that they were infection-free. Women aged > 18 years (24) who responded indicated that they had appropriate sexual desire; 16 were sexually active and the mean age for commencing sexual activity was 19.9 years. Six patients had dyspareunia and 10 indicated that they had orgasms. However, five additional patients indicated that they had restricted intercourse, as they were dissatisfied with the cosmesis of their external genitalia.

CONCLUSIONS: Sexual and gynaecological issues become increasingly important in patients with EEC as they become adults. Understanding these issues faced by patients with EEC as they mature will permit better counselling of future patients.

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