[Fecal incontinence in community-dwelling elderly: findings from a study of prevalence, consultation of physicians, psychosocial aspects and treatment]
SourceNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 145, 15, (2001), pp. 741--4
Article / Letter to editor
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Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
OBJECTIVE: To gain insight into the prevalence of faecal incontinence, looking for medical attention, treatment and the impact of faecal incontinence on the quality of life in community-residing men and women of 60 years and over. DESIGN: Enquiry and interview. METHOD: A questionnaire about the incidence of faecal incontinence and the request for help from the family doctor was mailed in 2000 to persons aged 60 and older listed in seven general practices in and round Nijmegen. In an interview with persons with faecal incontinence questions were asked about the need for assistance and the psychosocial consequences of the incontinence. RESULTS: Of the 3887 questionnaires mailed, 3345 were available for analysis, from 1536 males and 1809 females. The prevalence of faecal incontinence was 6%. The male-female distribution was equal and a rise in prevalence was seen with advancing age. One-third of the population discussed the incontinence with their physician, more women (58%) than men (42%). The faecal incontinence had hardly any impact on daily or social activities but the subjects did feel anxiety, shame or frustration. Treatment, if given (14/17), consisted of a prescription for diapers (n = 2) or of referral to an internist for examination of the intestines (n = 4). CONCLUSION: Faecal incontinence occurred in 6% of persons aged 60 or older living independently. Explicit looking for medical attention was not common. There were hardly any male-female differences. The most impact on the quality of life concerned the emotional wellbeing. Treatment had a little effect.
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