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Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct. 2001;12(2):117-120; discussion 121.

Prevalence of anal incontinence and other anorectal symptoms in women.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


We studied the prevalence of anal incontinence and other anorectal symptoms in women and evaluated the proportion of those who had sought medical help. A structured questionnaire was distributed to 1228 women attending the obstetrics and gynecology outpatient clinics (general, antenatal, urogynecology) of our university hospital. We also screened an additional sample of 984 women, representative of the general population aged 35-74. The prevalence of anal incontinence was 5.6% in the general outpatient clinic, 6.7% in the antenatal clinic, 15.9% in the urogynecology clinic and 4.4% in the general population. Only 20% of women affected by anal incontinence from the general outpatient clinic had reported their symptoms to a medical practitioner. Anal incontinence affects many women, but only a minority seek help. Obstetriciangynecologists should systematically inquire about the presence of this symptom.

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