Abstract

Diet Modifications in Older Women With Fecal Incontinence: A Qualitative Study

Andy UU, Ejike N, Khanijow KD, Flick LC, Markland AD, Arya LA, Frasso R.

 
     

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to investigate dietary modification strategies used by community-dwelling older women to manage their fecal incontinence (FI).

METHODS: We conducted a qualitative study with focus groups wherein women 65 years and older with FI shared their experiences managing the condition. We explored the following: (1) association between diet and FI symptoms, (2) dietary strategies and modifications used by older women to manage FI, and (3) patient input about disseminating diet modification information and strategies. All focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed, coded, and qualitatively analyzed to identify relevant themes.

RESULTS: Twenty-one women participated in 3 focus groups. All participants were aware that diet plays a key role in their experience of FI and women described a method of "trial and error" in identifying specific aspects of their diet that contributed to their FI symptoms. Women reported modifications including avoiding or limiting several foods and food categories, changing certain methods of food preparation, as well as varying the amounts and frequency of meals to manage their FI. Women articulated several suggestions including the importance of physician input, using a balanced approach when making recommendations, and the value of sharing individual experiences.

CONCLUSIONS: Older women with FI make several dietary modifications to manage their symptoms including limiting certain foods, changing methods of food preparation, and decreasing the amounts and frequency of meals. These strategies may be considered for inclusion in a diet modification plan that is culturally competent for older women with FI

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