Fecal incontinence is characterized by uncontrolled passage of solid or liquid stool.
Dr Stacy Menees and colleagues determined the prevalence and severity of fecal incontinence in a large sample of US residents.
The research team recruited a representative sample of patients in 2015 to complete the National Gastrointestinal (GI) Survey; a mobile app called MyGiHealth was used to systematically collect data on GI symptoms.
Fecal incontinence was defined as accidental leakage of solid or liquid stool.
|33% had fecal incontinence within the past 7 days|
Severity of fecal incontinence was determined by responses to the National Institutes of Health Fecal Incontinence Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System questionnaire.
Multivariable regression models were used to identify factors associated with fecal incontinence prevalence and severity.
Among 71,812 individuals who completed the National GI Survey, the team found that 14% reported fecal incontinence in the past.
Of these, 33% had fecal incontinence within the past 7 days.
The researchers found that older age, male sex, and Hispanic ethnicity increased the likelihood of having fecal incontinence within the past week.
Individuals with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or diabetes were more likely to report fecal incontinence.
Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic individuals and individuals with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or chronic idiopathic constipation had more severe symptoms of fecal incontinence than individuals without these features.
Dr Menees' team concludes, "In a large population-based survey, 1 in 7 people reported previous fecal incontinence."
"Fecal incontinence is age-related and more prevalent among individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or diabetes than people without these disorders."
"Proactive screening for fecal incontinence among these groups is warranted."