Although most women with fecal incontinence have anorectal dysfunctions, a majority have intermittent symptoms.
Variations in bowel habits and daily routine may partly explain this.
Dr Adil Bharucha and colleagues from Minnesota, USA compared bowel habits and daily routine between controls and fecal incontinence.
The research team compared bowel habits and daily routine between continent and incontinent stools among women with fecal incontinence.
|Stool characteristics explained 46% of the likelihood for incontinence episodes|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
Using a mailed questionnaire, the team identified 507 women with fecal incontinence among 5,300 women.
Bowel habits were compared among 127 randomly selected controls, and 154 women with self-reported fecal incontinence.
Of these, 106 had ‘active' fecal incontinence, and 48 had ‘inactive' fecal incontinence.
The patients had an incontinent episode during a 2-week bowel diary period.
The researchers found independent risk factors for fecal incontinence were rectal urgency, and a sense of incomplete evacuation.
The research team found similar results for stool frequency and form.
Among incontinent women, incontinent stools were less formed, more likely to occur at work, and to be preceded by rectal urgency.
Dr Bharucha's team concluded, "Bowel patterns, rectal urgency, and daily routine influence the occurrence of fecal incontinence."
"Stool characteristics explained 46% of the likelihood for incontinence episodes, emphasizing that anorectal sensorimotor dysfunctions must also contribute to fecal incontinence in women."