Fecal Incontinence in Women: Causes and Treatment

Ashima Makol; Madhusudan Grover; William E Whitehead


Women's Health. 2008;4(5):517-528. 

In This Article

Conclusion & Future Perspective

Fecal incontinence is a common disorder affecting up to 15% of women, and it may have a devastating impact on QOL. Most patients do not seek treatment, apparently because of social stigma and pessimism that symptoms can be improved, and most physicians do not screen for it for similar reasons. However, it is treatable; most patients with FI can be substantially improved or cured through medical management, biofeedback or surgery. We recommend that appropriate professional societies make it a priority to:

  • Reduce the social stigma associated with FI so that more patients seek treatment

  • Educate primary-care physicians about treatment options and encourage screening

  • Develop and test prevention strategies

The major barriers to helping women with incontinence appear to not be the lack of research, but the social and professional barriers to diagnosing and treating this disorder.


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