BACKGROUND: The association between an objective measure of fecal incontinence severity and patient-reported quality of life is poorly understood. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate patients with various degrees of fecal incontinence to determine whether their quality of life as measured by the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Scale is affected by coexisting pelvic floor disorders. DESIGN: This was a prospective, survey-based study. SETTINGS: The study was conducted at a tertiary pelvic floor disorders center. PATIENTS: Included patients were all of those presenting between January 2007 and March 2014. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Survey data were analyzed to determine the association between Fecal Incontinence Severity Index and Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Scale, as well as scores from the Constipation Severity Instrument, Pelvic Floor Impact Questionnaire, Pelvic Organ Distress Inventory, and Urinary Distress Inventory. RESULTS: A total of 585 patients reported fecal incontinence ranging from none (n = 191) to mild/moderate (n = 159) to severe (n = 235). As expected, patients with severe fecal incontinence have worse scores on all fecal incontinence quality-of-life subscales (lifestyle, coping/behavior, depression/self-perception, and embarrassment) and worse colorectal/anal symptoms than those with mild/moderate or no fecal incontinence (p < 0.0001). Patients with severe fecal incontinence also have worse bladder/urinary symptoms (p ≤ 0.0001). Pelvic organ prolapse and constipation symptoms were similar between groups (p ≥ 0.61). After correcting for baseline differences in patient comorbidities and bladder/urinary symptoms, a significant association persisted between Fecal Incontinence Severity Index and all of the subscales of the fecal incontinence quality-of-life instrument (p < 0.0001). However, urinary distress scores also remained significantly associated with all of the fecal incontinence quality-of-life subscales except for embarrassment after risk adjustment (p < 0.01). LIMITATIONS: Nongeneral population and a lack of patient data on previous medical management of fecal incontinence were limitations of this study. CONCLUSIONS: The Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life Scale correlates strongly with instruments measuring both fecal and urinary incontinence. This underscores the importance of quantifying the presence or absence of coexistent urinary leakage in studies where a drop in fecal incontinence quality of life is considered a primary end point.
- Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life
- Fecal Incontinence Severity Index
- Fecal incontinence
- Pelvic floor disorders
- Quality of life
- Urinary incontinence