Constipation-associated and Nonretentive Fecal Incontinence in Children and Adolescents: An Epidemiological Survey in Sri Lanka

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Objectives:Fecal incontinence (FI) has a great effect on quality of life of children with the condition. Epidemiological data related to FI from developing countries are sparse. Studies differentiating functional nonretentive and retentive (constipation-associated) FI are not available.Patients and Methods:This was an island-wide, cross-sectional study. Information was collected from children (ages 10–16 years) from 5 randomly selected schools in 3 geographically and socioeconomically different provinces in Sri Lanka, using a validated, self-administered questionnaire. FI was defined as defecation into places inappropriate to the social context, at least once per month, for a minimum period of 2 months. Constipation was diagnosed using Rome III criteria.Results:A total of 2770 questionnaires were distributed and 2686 (97.0%) were included in the analysis. Of them, 55 (2.0%) had FI (mean age 11.96 years, SD 1.59 years, 43 [78.2%] boys). Forty-five (81.8%) had constipation-associated FI and 10 (18.2%) had nonretentive FI. The highest prevalence of FI was seen in children aged 10 years (5.4%). A significant negative correlation was observed between age and the prevalence of FI (r = −0.893, P = 0.007). FI was significantly higher in boys (boys 3.2%, girls 0.9%), those exposed to recent school- and family-related stressful life events, and those from lower social classes (P < 0.05).Conclusions:FI is not uncommon among children and adolescents of 10 to 16 years of age in Sri Lanka with a male predilection. Some predisposing factors, such as exposure to stressful life events and being bullied at school, which are similar to those described in the literature for FI, could be clearly recognized.

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