Can rectal irrigation improve quality-of-life for patients who have bowel dysfunction?

Mrs Lisa  Richards1, Mrs Cheryl Penter1
1St John Of God Hosptial, Subiaco, Ardross, Australia

Colorectal surgeons are more skilled now than ever. This has led to surgical resections as low as ultra low anterior resections with hand sewn coloanal anastomoses and temporary loop ileostomy to rest the anastomosis.

Following stoma reversal many of these patients suffer bowel dysfunction known as low anterior resection syndrome (LARS). This results in clustering, frequency and urgency of bowel actions and can be debilitating for many.

At St. John of God hospital Subiaco we have been teaching our patients how to perform rectal irritation in an attempt to give these patient more predictable bowel functionality.

Anecdotally these patients have been reporting a much improved bowel function and improved quality of life.

This inspired us to commission a research project with the aim being to determine if rectal irrigation can improve this cohort of patients quality of life.

The research was extended to not only include LARS sufferers but any patients with bowel dysfunction and is being measured using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire.


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