Objective: To assess the relationship between the severity of neurogenic bowel and health-related quality of life in persons with various degrees of spinal cord injury. Design: Cross-sectional. Subjects: A total of 128 people with spinal cord injury. Methods: Two questionnaires were sent out by post. One included demographic characteristics and a neurogenic bowel dysfunction score to evaluate the severity of neurogenic bowel dysfunction. The other was a Short-Form 36-Item Health Survey that evaluated the quality of life in persons with spinal cord injury. Results: Approximately half of the persons with spinal cord injury (46.9%) had moderate to severe degrees of neurogenic bowel dysfunction, the severity of which was associated with the physical functioning and physical component summary score in health-related quality of life. The results also showed that more severe neurological classifications led to lower physical component summary scores for impaired physical function and bodily pain. There was no correlation between the length of time elapsed since injury and health-related quality of life. Persons with more severe neurogenic bowel conditions were also found to be more likely to receive rehabilitative therapy. Conclusion: Neurogenic bowel dysfunction is associated with health-related quality of life expression in persons with spinal cord injury, especially in physical functioning and physical component summary.
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