Adherence to Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Referrals in Women With Fecal Incontinence

Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2022 Mar 1;28(3):e29-e33doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000001140.


James H Ross 1Annika SinhaKatie Propst


Author information

1From the OB/GYN & Women's Health Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH.


Objectives: This study aimed to determine the incidence of patient adherence with prescribed pelvic floor physical therapy (PFPT) in women presenting with fecal incontinence (FI) and to describe patient characteristics associated with nonadherence.

Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study of women presenting with FI who were prescribed PFPT between January 2010 and December 2019. Adherence with PFPT was defined as either completion of documented recommended physical therapy sessions or discharge from therapy by the therapist before completion of the prescribed sessions.

Results: Complete data were available for 248 patients. A total of 159 (64.1%) patients attended at least 1 session of PFPT. Patients who did not attend any sessions were more likely to have a concurrent diagnosis of pelvic organ prolapse (69.7% vs 55.3%, P = 0.03). When controlled for confounding variables, concurrent prolapse remained associated with nonattendance (adjusted odds ratio of 1.9 [95% confidence interval, 1.0-3.3]). Of the patients who attended PFPT, the adherence rate was 32.7% (n = 50), whereas the rate was 20% for the total cohort. Nonadherent patients were more likely to have a higher body mass index (28.9 vs 26.9, P = 0.02), but this was no longer statistically significant once other patient characteristics were controlled for. Of the entire cohort, 136 (54.8%) followed up with their physicians after the initial referral to PFPT. Of the 59 patients, 43.7% were offered second-line therapy.

Conclusion: Of the women prescribed PFPT for a diagnosis of FI, approximately two thirds attended at least a single session, but only one third of those patients were adherent with the recommended therapy.

© Copyright 2013-2024 GI Health Foundation. All rights reserved.
This site is maintained as an educational resource for US healthcare providers only. Use of this website is governed by the GIHF terms of use and privacy statement.