BACKGROUND: Urinary and fecal incontinence in females are both common and distressing conditions. Because common pathophysiologic mechanisms have been described, an association between the two would be expected. The aim of this study was to determine whether patients with lower urinary tract dysfunction have concomitant fecal incontinence when compared with age and gender matched community controls and, second, to determine whether they have predisposing factors that have led to lower urinary tract symptoms and concomitant fecal incontinence. METHODS: A case-control study was performed by means of detailed questionnaire and review of investigation results. One thousand consecutive females presenting for urodynamic investigation of lower urinary tract dysfunction, were compared with 148 age and gender matched community controls. RESULTS: Frequent fecal incontinence was significantly more prevalent among all cases than among community controls (5 vs. 0.72 percent, P = 0.023). Occasional fecal incontinence was also more prevalent (24.6 vs. 8.4 percent, P < 0.001). Fecal incontinence was not significantly more prevalent among females with genuine stress incontinence (5.1 percent) when compared with females with detrusor instability (3.8 percent) or any other urodynamic diagnosis. Symptoms of fecal urgency and fecal urge incontinence were significantly more prevalent among those with a urodynamic diagnosis of detrusor instability or sensory urgency than among females with other urodynamic diagnoses or community controls. Multivariate analysis comparing cases with fecal incontinence with other cases and also with community controls did not indicate that individual obstetric factors contributed significantly to the occurrence of fecal incontinence in these patients. CONCLUSIONS: There is an association between genuine stress incontinence, lower urinary tract dysfunction, and symptoms of fecal incontinence, but the exact mechanism of injury related to childbirth trauma is questioned.
- Fecal incontinence
- Urinary incontinence