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Can wearing high heels influence anal canal pressure and the severity of fecal incontinence?


Introduction and hypothesis

Wearing high heels may not only produce deleterious effects on the musculoskeletal system and on the general posture, but also on the activity of pelvic floor muscles. However, no data are currently available concerning the link between fecal incontinence and wearing high heels. Our aim was to determine whether wearing high-heeled shoes could influence anal canal pressure values in patients suffering from fecal incontinence.


In this retrospective monocentric study, 338 female patients were included. Clinical data, including the Wexner score, and manometric data were recorded (using 3D high-resolution anorectal manometry). Wearing high heels was defined by the use of high-heeled shoes at least four times a week for 4 consecutive hours with at least 1 year of usage time and heels ≥3 cm. Two sub-groups were defined: “high heels” vs “no high heels.”


The two subgroups were comparable for clinical data, including Wexner score, except for a higher age, menopause and hormone replacement therapy, and urinary incontinence in the group with “high heels.” No statistical difference was observed concerning the anal canal pressure. Using analysis by logistic regression, only age was related to a significantly lower resting pressure.


In this retrospective cohort of women with fecal incontinence, no clinical or manometric differences were observed between women who wore high heels versus those who did not. Because there is limited knowledge on this potential link and because the pelvic tilt may vary according to age and the habit of walking with high heels, further studies are necessary.

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Correspondence to Laure Luciano.

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Vitton, V., Luciano, L., Ortiz, S. et al. Can wearing high heels influence anal canal pressure and the severity of fecal incontinence?. Int Urogynecol J 30, 2049–2054 (2019).

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  • High-heeled shoes
  • Fecal incontinence
  • 3D high-resolution anorectal manometry