Fecal incontinence: the role of the urologist.
Fecal incontinence is the involuntary loss of solid or liquid stool. While the true prevalence of fecal incontinence is difficult to discern, it is estimated that almost 9 % of non-institutionalized women in the US experience this condition. Disorders leading to fecal urgency alone are usually related to rectal storage abnormalities while incontinence is often a result of anatomic or neurologic disruption of the anal sphincter complex. Many risk factors exist for fecal incontinence and include female sex, increasing age, higher body mass index (BMI), limited physical activity, smoking, presence of neuropsychiatric conditions, higher vaginal parity and history of obstetrical trauma, presence of chronic diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, or history of rectal surgery, prostatectomy and radiation. Evaluation of fecal incontinence involves a careful patient history and focused physical exam. Diagnostic tests include endorectal ultrasonography, anal manometry, anal sphincter electromyography, and defecography. Treatment strategies include behavioral, medical and surgical therapies as well as neuromodulation. Treatment is based on the presumed etiology of the condition and a multi-modal approach is often necessary to achieve the maximum benefit for patients.
Unger, CA; Goldman, HB; Jelovsek, JE
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