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NIH panel seeks to dispel stigma associated with fecal and urinary incontinence
Date:12/12/2007

An independent panel convened this week by the NIH found that fewer than half of individuals experiencing fecal or urinary incontinencethe inability to control bowel movements or urination, respectivelyreport their symptoms to healthcare providers without being prompted. The secrecy and distress surrounding these issues erode the quality of life for millions, and hamper scientific understanding and development of prevention and treatment strategies.

Its time to remove the stigma associated with urinary and fecal incontinence, said C. Seth Landefeld, M.D., Director of the Center on Aging at the University of California San Francisco and chair of the conference panel. More than one-fourth of Americans will experience incontinence at some point in their lives. We as a society need to get over our discomfort with this subject so that incontinence sufferers receive the compassion, acceptance, and care they need, and our aging population can take steps to prevent incontinence in the future.

Removing the stigma was a key message of an NIH state-of-the-science conference, which concluded this morning. The panels full draft statement will be available later today at http://consensus.nih.gov. The statement includes recommendations for research studies to fill the major gaps in current knowledge that severely limit our ability to help people with these conditions.

The panel concluded that healthcare providers are well positioned to initiate discussions with patients about incontinence. The panel recommended further studies to determine when and how to approach patients on the topic. Although further study will be needed to find the most effective wording for asking patients about symptoms, the panel recommended that the ideal approach will address four aspects of the patients experience: frequency, volume, the degree to which symptoms bother the patient, and the patients desire for treatment.

Provider education alone will be insu
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Contact: Kelli Marciel
marcielk@od.nih.gov
301-496-4819
NIH/National Institutes of Health, Office of Disease Prevention
Source:Eurekalert

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