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Psychosocial and psychosexual development in childhood and adolescence within the exstrophy-epispadias complex.

Journal of Urology 2005 September
PURPOSE: We report the psychosocial and psychosexual development of children and adolescents with the exstrophy-epispadias complex (EEC) after complete functional repair using the Erlangen single stage technique.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In a long-term retrospective followup of an average of 11.1 years 100 patients with EEC (76 boys and 24 girls, mean age 14.5 years) were evaluated with respect to medical history, and received a general questionnaire concerning their social and psychosocial situation. A total of 54 patients who were 15 years or older (mean age 18.5) received an additional questionnaire to assess detailed sexual history.

RESULTS: Of the patients 81% returned the general questionnaire within 3 weeks. School education level and social integration were high. In about 25% of the patients impairment of daily life was significant, and in 58.7% peer relations were altered. Of the adolescent group 76% answered the special questionnaire. Genital satisfaction and genital touching were rated low, and avoidance of nudity in public areas was common. All patients expressed heterosexuality and 43.9% had engaged in sexual intercourse but 58.5% displayed anxiety about sexual activity. It is noteworthy that 93.9% expressed an interest in psychological assistance.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite a high degree of social integration and adult adaptation, children and adolescents with EEC suffer from psychosocial and psychosexual dysfunction requiring special questionnaires for adequate assessment. Anxiety about genital appearance and sexual activity is a common phenomenon among adolescents with EEC, even when they present with nearly "normal" genitalia and participate with satisfaction in sexual activity. Further studies are needed to understand the exstrophy problem and supply all patients with EEC with the individual care they need.

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