Effect of flatal incontinence on sexual function

Sarah A. Collins*, Melissa Martin, David M. O'Sullivan, Adam C. Steinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether flatal incontinence (FI) adversely affects sexual function. Methods: A database of 1203 women presenting to a consultative urogynecology practice was queried. The Pelvic Floor Distress Inventory Short Form (PFDI-20) and Pelvic Organ Prolapse/Urinary Incontinence Sexual Function (PISQ-12) questionnaires were administered on presentation to the practice. Flatal incontinence was identified by an answer of at least "somewhat" to question 11 of PFDI-20. Questions 9 and 10 were used to eliminate confounding effects of leakage of solid and liquid stool. Univariate analyses were performed using Student t and Ξ2 tests. Results: Of the 1076 women who answered PFDI-20 question 11, 485 subjects (46.2%) were FI and 591 (54.9%) were not flatally incontinent (NFI). The PFDI-20 global and all 3 subscores were higher in the FI than in the NFI group. Sexual activity was reported in 47.8% of subjects with FI and in 60.2% of the NFI group (P G 0.001). Among those who were sexually active, PISQ-12 scores were significantly higher in the FI group (n = 219, 15.8 ± 6.4 vs n = 334, 14.4 ± 5.9, P = 0.006). After sexually active subjects with incontinence to stool were excluded, PFDI-20 and PISQ-12 scores were compared. Those with FI had significantly higher PFDI-20 global and subscores, but there was no significant difference in PISQ-12 scores (FI: 14.8 ± 6.2 vs NFI: 14.0 ± 5.7, P = 0.161). Conclusions: Flatal incontinence is associated with decreased sexual activity and impaired sexual function. Flatal incontinence not accompanied by incontinence to stool, however, may not worsen sexual function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-73
Number of pages4
JournalFemale Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Anal incontinence
  • Female sexual function
  • Flatal incontinence
  • PFDI-20
  • PISQ-12
  • Urogynecology patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of flatal incontinence on sexual function'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this