One hundred and forty four questionnaires relating to bladder and bowel control were sent to a random selection of patients with spina bifida throughout the United Kingdom. One hundred and seventeen questionnaires were returned, of which 109 were usable. Twenty eight out of 109 responders had undergone some form of urinary diversion, of whom 20 (71%) were reliably dry. The remaining 81 responders emptied their bladders by a variety of techniques including normal voiding, straining, expression, clean intermittent catheterisation, indwelling catheters, or they dribbled urine continuously. Only 31 (38%) of this group were reliably dry. Ninety four of 109 (86%) responders regularly sat on the toilet to evacuate their bowels and most used some aid such as manual evacuation, laxatives, suppositories, or enemas. Fifty five of 104 (53%) responders soiled regularly, 31 (56%) of whom were also wet. Forty seven per cent of dry patients (24/51) were faecally incontinent. Only 25 of 104 (24%) patients responding to all questions were reliably clean and dry.