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Effect of pregnancy and childbirth on anal sphincter function and fecal incontinence

Christina Lewicky-Gaupp, MD
Dee E Fenner, MD
Section Editor
Linda Brubaker, MD, FACOG
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


Fecal incontinence has a significant impact on quality of life [1-3]. Disorders of stool consistency and a wide variety of anorectal conditions can cause fecal incontinence. This topic will focus on the association between fecal incontinence and pregnancy, vaginal delivery, and anal sphincter laceration. The diagnosis and management of fecal incontinence and other effects of pregnancy and childbirth on the pelvic floor are reviewed elsewhere. (See "Fecal incontinence in adults: Etiology and evaluation" and "Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse associated with pregnancy and childbirth".)


International Urogynecological Association (IUGA) and International Continence Society (ICS) terminology includes [4]:  

Fecal incontinence is defined as the complaint of involuntary loss of feces

Anal incontinence is the complaint of involuntary loss of feces or flatus

Fecal incontinence will be the focus of this topic.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Apr 05, 2017.
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