According to the World Health Organisation, faecal continence is the ability to “control the time place and of bowel movements.”
At some point in our adult lives, some degree of incontinence is almost inevitable; however, it is thought that around 5% of the population suffer persistent faecal incontinence of varying degrees of severity, ranging from uncontrolled release of gas to complete loss of control. Faecal incontinence is significantly more common in women; the reasons for this include the fact that females have a shorter anal canal then males and the sphincter mechanism is commonly altered by obstetric trauma.
Assessment of faecal incontinence
A good history and a careful clinical examination remain the cornerstone of the assessment of faecal incontinence; however, your surgeon may wish to use one or all of the following investigations in order to optimise assessment and treatment planning.