Impact of fecal incontinence on quality of life

Bartlett, Lynne; Nowak, Madeleine; Yik-Hong Ho; Chiarioni, Giuseppe
July 2009
World Journal of Gastroenterology;7/14/2009, Vol. 15 Issue 26, p3276
Academic Journal
AIM: To explore the impact of fecal incontinence (FI) on quality of life (QOL) of patients attending urogynecology and colorectal clinics (CCs). METHODS: Cross-sectional study of 154 patients (27 male) with FI, who attended the clinics at a regional hospital in North Queensland, Australia in 2003 and 2004, and completed the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Scale (FIQL: 1 = very affected; 4 = not affected). RESULTS: More than 22% of patients had their QOL affected severely by FI. Patients reported that they had not previously been asked about FI by a medical practitioner nor did they voluntarily disclose its presence. The median FIQL scores for all participants were: lifestyle = 3.24; coping = 2.23; depression = 2.42; and embarrassment = 2.33. Increasing frequency of soiling had a negative effect on all four FIQL scales (P < 0.001) as did the quantity of soiling (P < 0.01). Female CC patients had poorer FIQL scores than urogynecology clinic patients for lifestyle (P = 0.015), coping (P = 0.004) and embarrassment (P = 0.009), but not depression (P = 0.062), despite having experienced FI for a shorter period. CONCLUSION: Failure to seek treatment for FI degrades the quality of patients' lives over time. FI assessment tools should incorporate the quantity of fecal loss.


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