Assessment and Investigation of Fecal Incontinence and Constipation

  • Peter J. Mitchell
  • Edward S. Kiff


Fecal incontinence and constipation are common conditions that have a significant impact upon a patient’s quality of life. The maintenance of continence and act of defecation result from the complex interaction of many factors that is reflected in the many different etiologies of fecal incontinence and constipation, and the many different investigations available. As with all medical practice, a thorough history and examination forms the solid foundation required to assessing such patients, with supplementary information from specialist tests being useful in some. The symptoms of both constipation and fecal incontinence may in a few be the presenting symptoms of a colorectal or anal neoplasm. Such a diagnosis should be excluded in the assessment and with appropriate investigations. The assessment of a patient with incontinence and constipation is described, followed by a detailed discussion of the most useful specialist tests of anorectal and colonic function.


Fecal Incontinence Anal Canal External Anal Sphincter Internal Anal Sphincter Pudendal Nerve 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pelvic Floor Service, Department of General SurgeryUniversity Hospital South ManchesterManchesterUK

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