Anal incontinence is an unpredictable and debilitating condition that can significantly reduce quality of life. Symptoms include the involuntary loss of solid and/or liquid stool, flatus incontinence and rectal urgency. Pregnancy and childbirth are two major factors that increase the risk of anal incontinence in women of reproductive age. Women at high risk of anal incontinence include those with a known history of the condition and those who have experienced severe perineal trauma, particularly after injury to the anal sphincters (third-degree and fourth-degree tears). Routine screening for anal incontinence of women in high-risk groups during pregnancy and after childbirth appears to be limited in clinical practice. This article discusses the potential benefits of screening for anal incontinence, outlines the factors that inhibit and enable screening, describes current bowel screening tools and their limitations, and explores how the identification of anal incontinence in women of reproductive age could be improved.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Nursing standard (Royal College of Nursing (Great Britain) : 1987)|
|Publication status||Published - 5 May 2021|
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- faecal incontinence
- health promotion
- public health
- risk factors