Fecal incontinence—the inability to control the passage of stool— is an expensive problem that can cost more than $4000 per person per year, according to a new study published in Diseases of the Colon & Rectum
. The prevalence of fecal incontinence is expected to increase substantially as the elderly population continues to grow rapidly.
Investigators, led by senior author Dee E. Fenner, MD, Harold A. Furlong Professor of Women’s Health and codirector of the Michigan Bowel Control Program, calculated the hidden cost of complex defecation disorders. They examined 3 categories of expenses: direct medical cost (diagnosis, treatment and management of the condition), direct nonmedical cost (costs of nonmedical resources like protective products or transportation to care), and indirect cost, measured by loss of productivity.
Dr. Fenner concluded that because of its social stigma, too little attention is devoted to the treatment and prevention of fecal incontinence. In fact, this is the first US-based study to determine the condition’s per-patient cost.
“The disease is prevalent among men and women, and this study shows the cost is a significant burden to patients and to society,” she said.
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