Fecal Incontinence



Fecal incontinence (FI) is a socially and emotionally devastating disorder. The prevalence of FI among institutionalized persons reaches 45 %. Prevalence rates are similar between men and women, 7.7 % and 8.9 %, respectively, and increase with age, reaching 15.3 % in those 70 years of age or older. Due to social perception, many patients do not seek treatment, which likely leads to an underestimation of prevalence. Thirty-six percent of primary care patients reported episodes of FI but only 2.7 % of these patients had a documented diagnosis. Healthcare costs are 55 % higher in FI than continent patients, amounting to an estimated $11 billion annually. Most patients achieve significant improvement in symptoms through proper treatment. Early diagnosis may prevent complications that reduce quality of life.


Pelvic Floor Fecal Incontinence Anal Sphincter Rectal Prolapse External Anal Sphincter 
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Key References

  1. 1.
    Bharucha AE, Zinsmeister AR, Schleck CD, Melton 3rd LJ. Bowel disturbances are the most important risk factors for late onset fecal incontinence: a population-based case-control study in women. Gastroenterology. 2010;139(5):1559–66. A nice study that evaluates risk factors for FI.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
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    Madoff RD. Surgical treatment options for fecal incontinence. Gastroenterology. 2004;126(1 Suppl 1):S48–54. A nice summary of treatment options for FI.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Rao SS. Advances in diagnostic assessment of fecal incontinence and dyssynergic defecation. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010;8(11):910–9.e2. This paper details the diagnostic testing that may be done in fecal incontinence patients.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
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    Rao SS. Diagnosis and management of fecal incontinence. American College of Gastroenterology Practice Parameters Committee. Am J Gastroenterol. 2004;99(8):1585–604. An older but still valuable article on the diagnosis of FI.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Rao SS. Pathophysiology of adult fecal incontinence. Gastroenterology. 2004;126(1 Suppl 1):S14–22. Reviews the pathophysiology of fecal incontinence.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Shah BJ, Chokhavatia S, Rose S. Fecal incontinence in the elderly: FAQ. Am J Gastroenterol. 2012;107(11):1635–46. Nice review with focus on the elderly.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Recommended Reading

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    Drossman DA, Dumistrascu DL. Rome III: New standard for functional gastrointestinal disorders. J Gastrointestin Liver Dis 2006;15:237–41Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineMayo ClinicScottsdaleUSA
  2. 2.Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyMayo ClinicScottsdaleUSA

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