Self-management of accidental bowel leakage and interest in a supportive m-Health app among women

Donna Z. Bliss, Olga V. Gurvich, Sunita Patel, Isuzu Meyer, Holly E. Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Self-management with clinician guidance is a cornerstone of successful conservative treatment for accidental bowel leakage (ABL). There are currently few resources to assist patients with that essential self-management. The purpose of this study was to describe self-management of ABL and explore interest in a mobile health application (m-Health app) for supporting ABL self-management among community-living women. Methods: Using an observational/descriptive design, women (18+ years) previously seen in a urogynecology clinic for ABL were mailed a survey containing eight multiple-choice questions and an open-ended prompt for comments. Results: Survey responses were received from 161 women (18% response rate). The highest percentage of participants was aged 61–70 years (39%). Nearly half of the participants (47%) “did not know anything” about ABL self-management before visiting a clinician. Only 4% “knew a lot.” Of those who have been trying to self-manage their ABL (n = 132), 37% reported that it was not effective, and only 5% thought their self-management was “very effective.” Half (50%) of the participants had “a lot of” interest in an m-Health app to support managing ABL, and 30% had “some” interest. The vast majority (89%) thought that it was “very important” to have ongoing guidance and support for self-managing ABL. Conclusions: Before visiting a clinician, most women with ABL lacked knowledge about ABL self-management, and their self-management was not very effective. Women thought having guidance to self-manage ABL was important. There would be good interest among women in an m-Health app supporting self-management of ABL if one were created.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1140
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded in part by internal funds from the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Minneapolis, MN. The authors have no conflicts of interest regarding this study to declare. Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The International Urogynecological Association.


  • Bowel leakage
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Self-management
  • Women

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Observational Study


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