The need for a defecography in incontinent women is still debatable.
Dr Savoye-Collet undertook a prospective study in order to evaluate the prevalence of defecographic abnormalities in incontinent women.
The research team aimed to determine whether any symptom or endosonographic findings could be associated with a particular defecographic pattern.
The researchers enrolled 50 incontinent women (aged 30-87 years) to undergo defecography.
In addition, the investigators performed anal endosonography to look for pelvic floor descent, rectocele, intussusception, enterocele and the presence of anal sphincter defects.
The researchers recorded other symptoms, i.e. straining at stools and pelvic pressure.
|In 29 women with sphincter defects, prevalence of defecographic abnormalities did not differ from 21 women without sphincter defects|
|Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology|
The researchers identified 25 cases of external sphincter defect (12 associated with an internal defect) and 4 cases of isolated internal defect.
Defecography identified 25 patients with perineal descent at rest, 28 with perineal descent at straining, 30 with rectocele, 30 with intussusception and 14 with enterocele.
3 defecographies were normal.
The researchers found that in the 29 women with sphincter defects, the prevalence of defecographic abnormalities did not differ from that observed in the 21 women without sphincter defects.
In addition, the research team noted that the prevalence of defecographic abnormalities in women complaining of straining at stools (n=26) or idiopathic pelvic pressure (n=32), did not differ from that in women without these symptoms.
The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders in incontinent women was similar whether associated symptoms or anal sphincter defects were present or not.
Dr Savoye-Collet concluded, "When defecography has to be performed to investigate female anal incontinence, neither clinical nor endosonographic features can predict a higher diagnostic efficiency."