The effect of obesity on fecal incontinence symptom distress, quality of life, and diagnostic testing measures in women

Academic Article


  • Introduction and hypothesis Weight-loss has been demonstrated to result in an improvement in fecal incontinence (FI) severity; however, there is a paucity of data addressing the differential impact of FI on the quality of life (QOL) and results of diagnostic testing across BMI categories. We wished to evaluate symptom distress, QOL, and diagnostic testing parameters among normal, overweight, and obese women with fecal incontinence. Methods Women undergoing evaluation for FI between 2003 and 2012 were identified. Participants completed validated, symptom-specific distress, impact, and general QOL measures including the Modified Manchester Questionnaire (MMHQ), which includes the Fecal Incontinence Severity Index (FISI), and the mental and physical component summary scores, MCS and PCS, respectively, of the Short Form-12. Anorectal manometry measures were also included. Multivariate regression analyses were performed. Results Participants included 407 women with a mean age ± SD of 56±13. Multivariate analyses revealed no differences in symptom-specific distress and impact as measured by MMHQ, MCS, and PCS across BMI groups; however, obese women had increased resting and squeeze pressures compared with normal and overweight BMI women (p<0.0001 and p<0.0001; p=0.007 and p=0.004 respectively). Conclusions Obese women with FI did not have more general impact and symptom-specific distress and impact on quality of life compared with normal and overweight women. Obese women with FI had higher baseline anal resting and squeeze pressures suggesting a lower threshold to leakage with pressure increases. © The International Urogynecological Association 2013.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ellington DR; Polin MR; Szychowski JM; Deng L; Richter HE
  • Start Page

  • 1733
  • End Page

  • 1738
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 10