The cost of faecal incontinence

According to a study from the University of Michigan in the USA, faecal incontinence costs $4110 per person in the country through medical costs, non-medical costs, and loss of earnings. The study, which was published in the journal Diseases of the Colon & Rectum was one of the first studies to assess the annual economic costs of faecal incontinence.

Mr Austin Obichere, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at University College Hospital London, has identified that up to £100 million is spent each year in the UK on treatments for this condition and that the numbers of people suffering from bowel incontinence are increasing. Incontinence is a condition mainly associated with age and is therefore becoming more prevalent in our ageing population.

One of the authors of the study, Professor Fenner, wrote that people experiencing faecal incontinence may suffer for five or more years before seeking treatment and that the condition can therefore result in depression or social isolation. It is better for patients to be treated early and there are a range of treatments available from dietary modification to sphincter implants and Sacral Nerve Stimulation. Prof Fenner highlighted that the “…study shows that more attention should be directed to the prevention of this condition… interventions that can help patients manage their symptoms could generate financial benefits as well…”

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The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
The involuntary passage of urine or faeces. Full medical glossary
Relating to the rectum, the lowest part of the bowel leading to the anus. Full medical glossary
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A ring of muscle around a natural opening or passage that acts as a valve, regulating inflow or outflow. Full medical glossary