Prevalence of faecal incontinence in adults aged 30 years or more in general population


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Abstract

ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of and factors associated with faecal incontinence in a Finnish population.MethodA 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 faecal incontinence were adopted from a previously developed validated questionnaire.ResultsResponse rate was 39.8%. Overall, the prevalence of faecal incontinence occurring in any frequency within the last year was 10.6% (CI: 9.5–11.6%). Women suffered significantly more often than men (11.9% vs. 8.7%). The prevalence of faecal incontinence occurring at least twice a month was 5.2% (CI: 4.5–6%). Of these subjects, 62.3% used a pad at least twice a month to protect their underwear (91 women, 10 men), 23.6% used it daily. There was a strong correlation between faecal incontinence and urinary incontinence. Of the 162 subjects reporting faecal incontinence at least twice a month, only 27.2% had discussed the problem with their physician. In 12.4%, their physician had raised the question of faecal incontinence. Only 10% had received treatment for it, but 66% (107/162) felt they needed treatment.ConclusionFaecal 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 faecal incontinence and treatment options should be improved among primary care physicians and general population.

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