International Urogynecology Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 1483–1489

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased fecal incontinence symptoms

  • Candace Y. Parker-Autry
  • Jonathan L. Gleason
  • Russell L. Griffin
  • Alayne D. Markland
  • Holly E. Richter
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00192-014-2389-7

Cite this article as:
Parker-Autry, C.Y., Gleason, J.L., Griffin, R.L. et al. Int Urogynecol J (2014) 25: 1483. doi:10.1007/s00192-014-2389-7


Introduction and hypothesis

Vitamin D is an important micronutrient in muscle function. We hypothesize that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to fecal incontinence (FI) symptoms by affecting the anal continence mechanism. Our goal was to characterize the association of vitamin D deficiency as a variable affecting FI symptoms and its impact on health-related quality of life (HR-QoL).


This case–control study assessed women seen at a tertiary-care referral center. Participants were identified as having had a serum vitamin D level obtained within a year of their visit: cases were women presenting for care for FI symptoms; controls were women without any pelvic floor symptoms presenting to the same clinical site for general gynecologic care. Cases completed the Modified Manchester Health Questionnaire (MMHQ) and the Fecal Incontinence Severity Index to measure symptom severity and burden on QoL.


Among the 31 cases and 81 controls, no demographic or medical differences existed. Women with FI had lower vitamin D levels (mean 29.2 ± 12.3 cases vs. 35 ± 14.1 ng/ml controls p = 0.04). The odds of vitamin D deficiency were higher in women with FI compared with controls [odds ratio (OR) 2.77, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.08–7.09]. Among cases, women with vitamin D deficiency (35 %) had higher MMHQ scores, indicating greater FI symptom burden [51.3 ± 29.3 (vitamin D deficient) vs. 30 ± 19.5 (vitamin D sufficiency), p = 0.02]. No differences were noted for FI severity, p = 0.07.


Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in women with fecal incontinence and may contribute to patient symptom burden.


Vitamin D Pelvic floor Fecal incontinence 

Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Candace Y. Parker-Autry
    • 1
    • 6
  • Jonathan L. Gleason
    • 2
  • Russell L. Griffin
    • 3
  • Alayne D. Markland
    • 4
  • Holly E. Richter
    • 5
  1. 1.Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyWake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  2. 2.Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyCarilion ClinicRoanokeUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  4. 4.Department of Veterans Affairs (Birmingham VA Medical Center), Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Department of MedicineUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  5. 5.Division of Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  6. 6.Winston-SalemUSA

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