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Association between bowel symptoms, symptom severity, and quality of life in Swedish patients with fecal incontinence.

Scand J Gastroenterol. 2010 Aug 24;

Authors: Walter S, Hjortswang H, Holmgren K, Hallböök O

Abstract Objectives. The association between abdominal symptoms, disease severity of fecal incontinence (FI), and quality of life (QoL) is not yet clear. We hypothesized that it would become clearer by prospective diary data. We also aimed to compare QoL of FI patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) patients in relapse and remission. Material and methods. Sixty-five consecutive female patients with FI recorded bowel symptoms prospectively on diary cards. QoL was evaluated with the disease specific short health scale questionnaire (SHS). Patients with UC in remission and relapse were used as a reference group regarding SHS. Results. FI patients had median 3.5 leakage episodes/week. In all, 48% of bowel movements were associated with urgency. Urgency was correlated to decreased QoL according to SHS domains: symptoms (Rho = 0.54, p = 0.0002), function (Rho = 0.48, p = 0.0008), and disease related worry (Rho = 0.32, p = 0.027). Abdominal pain and bloating, reported by nearly half of patients, correlated to deceased QoL but not to number of leakages. QoL of patients with FI compared to UC in active phase (n = 35) was similar. FI patients had decreased QoL compared to UC in remission (n = 94) in all dimensions of SHS: symptoms (p < 0.0001), function (p < 0.0001), disease related worry (p < 0.0001), and general well being (p = 0.03). Conclusion. Urgency and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-like symptoms were associated with decreased QoL in FI. Therefore, IBS should be considered as an important confounding factor in FI QoL studies. QoL in patients with FI was considerably decreased, in a similar extent as in patients with UC in relapse.

PMID: 20735152 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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