Fecal incontinence follow-up: New report indicates severity of problem

On the heels of our blog post about fecal incontinence, the National Center for Health Statistics has issued a report documenting the severity of incontinence in the United States. If you’re tempted to dismiss the topic as one that isn’t far reaching, take note that it is much more prevalent than you may realize.

More than half of Americans aged 65 and older who live outside of institutions, such as nursing homes, suffer from incontinence. While the national report examines both urinary and fecal incontinence, for the purposes of this blog entry it makes sense to focus exclusively on fecal incontinence.

Report findings indicate fecal incontinence affects more than one in six non-institutionalized adults over age 65. That’s one out of six older adults likely carrying an emotional burden of shame and embarrassment, physical discomfort and disruption of their daily lives. The problem also can lead to isolation and depression.

As expected, the condition carries financial as well as emotional and physical burdens. The 2010 average annual cost for fecal incontinence was estimated at $4,110 per person, a cost that rises with the severity of symptoms.

Unfortunately, many people believe incontinence is an inevitable part of aging and the only way to address the condition is with adult diapers. That simply isn’t true. If you haven’t seen it already, I encourage you to read my prior blog post about a promising new treatment for fecal incontinence – the InterStim® Therapy for Bowel Control.

If you or a loved one suffers from this uncomfortable and embarrassing condition, I urge you to contact our office or your GIA physician to learn more about causes and treatment options. There is hope.