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2021 | 93(1) | 19-24
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Sexual activity in patients after proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis

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Introduction: Proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis is the gold standard in the surgical treatment of patients with ulcerative colitis, familial adenomatous polyposis and other colorectal diseases requiring colectomy. The treatment consists in removing the large intestine and creating an intestinal reservoir from the last ileum loop and then anastomosing the intestinal reservoir with the anal canal. Like any surgical procedure, RPC-IPAA also carries the risk of complications, both early and late. Late postoperative complications include sexual dysfunction.
Aim: The main goal of the following work is to assess the quality of life and sexual activity in patients having undergone the RPC-IPAA procedure at the General and Colorectal Surgery Clinic.
Material and methods: The study group consisted of patients aged 19–79 who had been subjected to RPC-IPAA procedures at the General and Colorectal Surgery Clinic in years 2010–2019. The study was conducted on the basis of a survey consisting of 50 questions about the social and mental condition, medical history and previous treatment as well as the quality of sexual life before and after surgery. The scale used for the assessment of the quality of sex life consisted of 5 grades: very low, low, medium, high, very high. Thirty subjects (21 men and 9 women) took part in the survey. Ulcerative colitis (86.6%) was the most common reason for qualification for restorative proctectomy among the examined patients; less common reasons included familial adenomatous polyposis (13.3%) and synchronous colorectal cancer (3.3%). A vast majority of the surgeries had been performed after 10 years’ duration of ulcerative colitis, and the intestinal reservoir had been functioning for over a year at the time of the examination. In addition, the effect of taking steroids and the impact of early postoperative complications on the quality of sex life of patients was assessed.
Results: High or very high sexual activity before surgery was reported by 46% of patients whereas low or very low quality was reported by 13%. The rest of the responders assessed their pre-operative sexual activity as average. After surgery, 23% of patients rated their sexual activity as high or very high while 36.6% of patients rated it as low or very low (P = 0.07). It was also noted that taking corticosteroids before surgery decreased the quality of sex life after surgery (P = 0.07 for activity, P = 0.04 for quality). None of the women surveyed used artificial moisturizing of intimate places during sex. Only 1 person stated that they started using artificial moisturization of intimate places after the procedure (P = 0.5). None of the men surveyed had used pharmacological agents to help them obtain an erection before surgery while as many as 33% of responders reported the need for their use after surgery (P = 0.008). Other postoperative sexual dysfunctions were also registered, such as dyspareunia (13.3%), sensory disorder within the intimate region, fecal incontinence, and urinary incontinence.
Conclusions: To sum up, sexual activity and quality of sexual life deteriorated after RPC-IPAA in our patients.
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