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Fecal incontinence epidemiology and help seeking among older people in Taiwan


  • Roger Dmochowski led the peer-review process as the Associate Editor responsible for the paper.
  • None of the authors have any proprietary interests or conflicts of interest related to this submission.
  • This submission has not been published anywhere previously and it is not simultaneously being considered for any other publication.



This study assesses the prevalence, comorbidity, and risk factors of fecal incontinence (FI), and explores help seeking patterns among older FI people.


The data were obtained from the 2005 National Health Interview Survey, in which 1,345 men and 1,370 women aged above 65 years responded to questions concerning FI occurrence, and 218 FI-affected elderly people responded to the question about FI help seeking. The chi-square test, Student's t-test, and multiple logistic regression were used.


The weighted FI prevalence of older Taiwanese people was 6.9% for men and 9.3% for women. Urinary incontinence, diabetes mellitus, dementia, and asthma significantly increased the risk of FI among old men, but being overweight appeared to be FI-protective (OR 0.37, 95% CI = 0.17–0.80). In women, urinary incontinence, stroke, transit ischemia attack, dementia, chronic hepatitis, being underweight (BMI < 18.5), and greater parity were significant FI risk factors. Of those with FI, 49.1% had sought medical help. Using Andersen's model, data analysis showed that living in an urban area (OR 2.36, CI = 1.19–4.68), mucous stool incontinence (OR 3.56, 95% CI = 1.35–8.32), and one or more of the following FI-related problems, namely, anxiety, families interaction, social life, work life, and sexual life, significantly predicted FI sufferers seeking medical attention.


Self-reported FI is a prevalent condition with various etiologies among older people in Taiwan. Understanding the epidemiology and comorbidity of FI, and investigating the factors associated with help seeking, is beneficial in devising and implementing prevention and management strategies. Neurourol. Urodynam. 33:1153–1158, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.