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Constipation and faecal incontinence 

Constipation and faecal incontinence
Chapter:
Constipation and faecal incontinence
Author(s):

Philippe Chassagne

and Frédéric Roca

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198701590.003.0145
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date: 18 October 2019

Constipation and faecal incontinence are the two main functional digestive disorders reported by old people. Prevalence increases with age and predominantly affects women. Both are associated with poorer quality of life. Clinical assessment of constipation including a detailed history is the best approach to identify features suggesting abnormal transit or evacuation problems. As for many geriatric syndromes, medication related effects should always be considered. Faecal incontinence is a marker of disability assessed by most activities of daily living (ADL) scales. In severe cases, faecal incontinence is also associated with high mortality rates. The main risk factor for transient faecal incontinence is the coexistence of a functional digestive disorder such as constipation (especially with faecal impaction) or diarrhoea. These two conditions must be identified since they can be improved by specific therapeutic programmes, which are usually multidimensional and multiprofessional.

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