Home Medizin Einer von zwölf Erwachsenen kann betroffen sein

Einer von zwölf Erwachsenen kann betroffen sein

von NFI Redaktion

According to a recent meta-analysis, approximately one in twelve adults worldwide suffers from fecal incontinence (FI).

FI is more common in individuals over 60 years old, but a significant portion of younger people – nearly 5% – can also experience FI, reported Isabelle Mack, PhD, from the University Hospital Tübingen, Germany, and colleagues.

„Physicians‘ understanding of the prevalence and risk factors of FI has evolved over time,“ wrote the researchers in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. „Originally, FI was seen as a symptom mainly affecting older individuals, especially residents in nursing homes. Its prevalence among adults living in communities was not adequately recognized, possibly because individuals with FI hesitated to disclose that they were symptomatic. Now we acknowledge that FI is widespread in the community.“

The only previous meta-analysis of FI, published in 2006, included both community and non-community studies and found a FI prevalence of 4.3%. Two subsequent reviews estimated the average prevalence to be 7.7%, but did not offer geographical insights.

To address this knowledge gap, Dr. Mack and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 80 studies involving 548,316 community-dwelling adolescents and adults. The average response rate across all studies was 66%.

Analysis of the data revealed a pooled global prevalence of FI of 8.0%, with a lower rate of 5.4% when FI was restricted to Rome criteria.

Among individuals aged 60 years and older, the prevalence of FI was 9.3%, compared to 4.9% in younger individuals (OR: 1.75; 95% CI: 1.39–2.20).

„These differences can be partially explained by age-related deterioration of anorectal function (e.g. lower anal resting pressure and lower rectal compliance, denervation of the external anal sphincter),“ wrote the researchers.

FI was also significantly more common in women than in men (9.1% vs. 7.4%; OR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.06–1.28).

Geographically, FI prevalence was highest in Australia and Oceania, followed by North America, Asia, and Europe. Data were insufficient to estimate rates in the Middle East and Africa.

Dr. Mack and colleagues concluded by highlighting how disruptive FI is for so many people worldwide, which should warrant greater attention in the medical community.

„As nearly one in four women living in communities with FI reports that the symptom has a moderate or severe impact on one or more aspects of quality of life, more resources should be allocated to research in this area,“ they wrote. „Future epidemiological studies on FI should also assess the severity of FI, risk factors for FI, and the impact of FI on quality of life. In addition, some patients hesitate to acknowledge or discuss FI during a personal interview, written or internet-based surveys may be preferable.“

This study was supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The investigators disclosed no conflicts of interest.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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