Abstract

Fecal Incontinence Diagnosed by the Rome IV Criteria in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom

Whitehead WE1, Simren M2, Busby-Whitehead J3, Heymen S4, van Tilburg MAL5, Sperber AD6, Palsson O4. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 May 30. pii: S1542-3565(19)30590-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2019.05.040. [Epub ahead of print]

 
     

Author information

Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7080. Electronic address: William_Whitehead@med.unc.edu.

Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7080; Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Center for Aging and Health, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599.

Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7080.

Center for Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7080; Department of Clinical Research, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC 27506; School of Social Work, University of Washington, Seattle WA.

Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 84105, Israel.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The diagnostic criteria for fecal incontinence (FI) were made more restrictive in the Rome IV revision. We aimed to determine the characteristics of FI patients defined by the Rome IV criteria, assess how FI frequency and amount affect quality of life, identify risk factors, and compare prevalence values among countries.

METHODS: We performed an internet-based survey of 5931 subjects in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, from September to December 2015. Subjects were stratified by country, sex, and age. Responders answered questions about diagnosis, health care use, and risk factors. We performed multivariate linear regression analysis to identify risk factors for FI.

RESULTS: FI was reported by 957 subjects (16.1%) but only 196 (3.3%) fulfilled the Rome IV criteria. Frequency of FI was less than twice a month for 672/957 subjects (70.2%) and less than 6 months for 285/957 subjects (29.8%). Quality of life was significantly impaired in all subjects with FI compared to subjects with fecal continence. The strongest risk factors for FI were diarrhea, urgency to defecate, and abdominal pain. FI was more prevalent in the United States than in the United Kingdom. Between-country differences were due to less diarrhea and urgency in the United Kingdom.

CONCLUSIONS: Rome IV FI prevalence is lower than previous estimates because the new criteria exclude many individuals with less frequent or short duration FI. These excluded patients have impaired quality of life. It might be appropriate to make a diagnosis of FI for all patients with FI >2 times in 3 months and to provide additional information on frequency, duration, and amount of stool lost to assist clinicians in treatment selection.

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