Fecal incontinence (FI), defined as the recurrent uncontrolled passage of fecal material due to the inability to control bowel discharge is a common and devastating condition. According to previous studies, at least 1 in 10 adult women have FI. This disorder poses a significant economic burden and has a negative impact on patient's lifestyle, leads to a loss of self-confidence, social isolation and a diminished quality of life. Three subgroups of FI are recognized: a) passive incontinence: the involuntary discharge of stool or gas without awareness; b) urge incontinence: the discharge of fecal matter in spite of active attempts to retain bowel contents, and c) fecal seepage: the involuntary leakage of small volumes of stool after normal evacuation. Disruption of the normal structure or function of the anorectal unit leads to FI and is often due to multiple mechanisms. A detailed history and examination including digital rectal examination facilitates diagnosis. Anorectal physiological tests provide useful information regarding functional abnormalities and anal endosonography regarding sphincter defects. These tests provide insights regarding pathophysiology and can guide further management. Behavioral therapy is successful in most patients and should be offered first. Surgical treatment should be considered in cases who fail medical treatment or with sphincter defects. Several experimental approaches, including bulking of the anal sphincter, sacral nerve stimulation and the delivery of radiofrequency energy to the anal canal are under investigation.
|Translated title of the contribution||Current concepts in the pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment of fecal incontinence|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Revista de gastroenterología de México|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2006|
ASJC Scopus subject areas