Assessment and Investigation of Fecal Incontinence and Constipation
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.
KeywordsFecal Incontinence Anal Canal External Anal Sphincter Internal Anal Sphincter Pudendal Nerve
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