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

Economic Impact of Fecal Incontinence

Very little data are available on the direct and indirect healthcare costs associated with FI, since the few studies that have looked at healthcare costs for incontinence have not distinguished between UI and FI. The largest known direct healthcare cost is the cost of nursing home admission; since FI and UI rank as the second leading causes of nursing home admission, this is a considerable but poorly defined cost to society.[28] For women living in the community who have FI, the principal direct healthcare costs are for supplies e.g., (diapers, absorbent pads and panties) and antidiarrheal drugs. Approximately US$400 million/year are spent on adult diapers,[29,30] and these costs are usually not reimbursed by insurance companies. The costs for medical, behavioral or surgical treatment have not been systematically studied.[5] A study by a surgical group estimated the average cost for evaluation and treatment of FI to be $17,166 per patient.[31]

Indirect costs include lost wages by individuals with FI as well as family members who may miss work to help care for them. With the progressive aging of the population, and with incontinence being a major caregiver burden and predictor of institutional placement, the role and responsibility of spousal caregivers further increases. This is becoming more important because the government is restraining expenditures for institutional healthcare.


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