Fecal Incontinence Research Encouraged

Published Online: Sunday, June 1, 2003
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Incontinence is a disorder that affects men and women of all ages, often with devastating emotional and social impact.To address the issues surrounding incontinence, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders and the Office of Continuing Medical Education of the University of Wisconsin Medical School held a conference last November on "Advancing the Treatment of Fecal & Urinary Incontinence Through Research: Trial Design, Outcome Measures, and Research Priorities." The National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored the conference.

Despite a number of available treatments for fecal incontinence, few randomized trials supporting these treatments have been published. Numerous factors?including the variety of causes and contributing factors, and technical issues in validating and measuring outcomes?complicate consistent study designs and have been blamed for the lack of published results. Recent advances in methodology, however, make new research opportunities feasible. Furthermore, the implementation by the NIH of 2 research networks that focus on urinary incontinence and pelvic floor disorders has helped clarify how to conduct valid studies.

The goal of the NIH in sponsoring the conference was to develop requests for research applications to fund research on the treatment of incontinence. For further information about incontinence, visit www.aboutincontinence.org.

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