Dr Petri Aitola and colleagues from Finland estimated the prevalence of and factors associated with faecal incontinence in a Finnish population.
A population-based age-stratified random sample of 8000 people aged 30–81 years from a large city was obtained from the national population registry.
A postal questionnaire was sent to all subjects.
Questions regarding fecal incontinence were adopted from a previously developed validated questionnaire.
The research team found that the response rate was 40%.
|The response rate was 40%|
Overall, the prevalence of fecal incontinence occurring in any frequency within the last year was 11%.
Women suffered significantly more often than men.
The research team found that the prevalence of fecal incontinence occurring at least twice a month was 5%.
Of these subjects, 62% used a pad at least twice a month to protect their underwear, 24% used it daily.
There was a strong correlation between fecal incontinence and urinary incontinence.
Of the 162 subjects reporting fecal incontinence at least twice a month, only 27% had discussed the problem with their physician.
In 12%, their physician had raised the question of fecal incontinence.
Only 10% had received treatment for it, but 66% felt they needed treatment.
Dr Aitola's team concludes, "Fecal incontinence is a common problem."
"Only a minority had reported this symptom to their physician and surprisingly few had received treatment for it."
"General awareness of fecal incontinence and treatment options should be improved among primary care physicians and general population."