Fecal incontinence in adults: Etiology and evaluation
- Kristen M Robson, MD, MBA, FACG
Kristen M Robson, MD, MBA, FACG
- Assistant Professor
- Tufts University School of Medicine
- Anthony J Lembo, MD
Anthony J Lembo, MD
- Associate Professor of Medicine
- Harvard Medical School
Fecal incontinence has a significant social and economic impact and significantly impairs quality of life [1-5]. Fecal incontinence can contribute to the loss of the ability to live independently. [5,6]. This topic will review the etiology and evaluation of fecal incontinence in adults. Our recommendations are largely consistent with guidelines issued by the American College of Gastroenterology . The management of fecal incontinence in adults is discussed in detail, separately. (See "Fecal incontinence in adults: Management".)
TERMINOLOGY AND CLASSIFICATION
●Fecal incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of solid or liquid feces.
●Anal incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of solid or liquid feces or flatus.
Based on the mechanism of incontinence, fecal incontinence is divided into the following:
●Urge incontinence is characterized by the desire to defecate, but incontinence occurs despite efforts to retain stool.To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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- TERMINOLOGY AND CLASSIFICATION
- Risk factors
- PHYSIOLOGY OF DEFECATION
- ETIOLOGY AND PATHOGENESIS
- Anal sphincter weakness
- Decreased perception of rectal sensation
- Decreased rectal compliance
- Physical examination
- Laboratory studies
- Additional studies
- - Anorectal manometry
- - Endorectal ultrasound/magnetic resonance imaging
- - Defecography
- - Other
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS