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Singapore Med J. 2014 Dec;55(12):640-3.

Prevalence of faecal incontinence in the community: a cross-sectional study in Singapore.

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Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, 20 College Road, Academia Level 5, Singapore 169856.



Faecal incontinence (FI) is a stigmatised condition that remains a silent affliction for many populations. To date, no local study has been performed to determine its prevalence in our population. The existing literature from the West has shown highly variable rates, ranging from 0.8% to 18.0%. The aim of this study was to determine the cross-sectional prevalence of FI in Singapore and to identify at-risk groups.


A door-to-door questionnaire survey was performed between February and March 2013. We randomly selected 1,000 individuals from the electoral roll to be surveyed using the validated Comprehensive Fecal Incontinence Questionnaire.


A total of 381 participants agreed to be enrolled in the study. The mean age of the participants was 52 (range 21-86) years, and slightly more than half of the participants were female (52.8%). Among the female participants, 73.1% had children (78.8% underwent normal vaginal delivery). The overall prevalence of FI in our study population was 4.7%. The prevalence of FI was observed to be significantly associated with increasing age (p = 0.004) and female gender (p = 0.029); women were three times more likely to suffer from FI than men.


With the ageing population of Singapore, the results of the present study provide further impetus to continue public outreach efforts as well as develop clinical programmes that address the growing need for specialist treatments for people with FI.

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