Fecal incontinence in an inpatient population: A not uncommon finding

Brian T. Hughes, Pavan Chepyala, Shane Hendon, Michael D. Crowell, Kevin W. Olden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The prevalence of fecal incontinence (FI) in hospitalized patients was determined, as well as the frequency with which physicians query about FI. Using a standardized questionnaire, subjects admitted to general medicine services at three university hospitals were questioned about FI. Investigators also reviewed the subjects' charts to determine if presence or absence of FI was documented. One hundred ninety-nine patients were enrolled, and 46% (92/199) reported ongoing FI. Advanced age, looser stools, symptoms of fecal urgency, urinary incontinence, and history of forceps delivery were found to be potential predictors of FI. Only 6% (6/92) with FI had documentation of FI in the medical chart and only 3% (6/199) of the entire sample were queried about FI. Fecal incontinence is an extremely common condition in hospitalized patients. Physician history-taking is severely deficient in this area. Methods to improve FI detection in the hospitalized patient population need to be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2215-2219
Number of pages5
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Anal incontinence
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Functional bowel disorders
  • Gastrointestinal diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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