Prevalence of anal incontinence in women with symptoms of urinary incontinence and genital prolapse

Michele Meschia, Arturo Buonaguidi, Paola Pifarotti, Edgardo Somigliana, Maurizio Spennacchio, Fabio Amicarelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To investigate risk factors and prevalence of anal incontinence among women with pelvic floor dysfunctions. METHODS: We evaluated 881 women with symptoms of urinary incontinence and/or genital prolapse. Each completed a bowel questionnaire and underwent a detailed medical, surgical, obstetric, and gynecologic history, and a pelvic examination. Additional testing, when indicated, included office cystometry or multichannel urodynamic evaluation. Multivariable analysis using logistic regression was used to test the overall significance of all variables significantly associated with anal incontinence, using univariate analysis. RESULTS: A total of 178 women had anal incontinence (20%). These patients were on average older, had a greater body mass index, and had larger birth weight infants than their anal-continent counterparts; 511 were diagnosed with urinary incontinence, and 122 (24%) also had anal incontinence. Women with urinary incontinence were more likely to report anal incontinence events than women continent of urine (24% versus 15%, P = .002). The following associations were found with anal incontinence: infant with birth weight 3800 g or greater (odds ratio [OR] 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.1, 2.2), rectocele greater than grade 2 (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.1, 3.3), urinary incontinence (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3, 2.8), hemorrhoidectomy (OR 2.7, 95% CI 1.1, 7.0), irritable bowel syndrome (OR 6.3, 95% CI 3.5, 11.5). CONCLUSION: Among women with symptoms of urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, the prevalence of anal incontinence was 20%. Urinary incontinence and severe rectocele were found to be associated with anal incontinence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-723
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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