Fecal incontinence in older women: are levator ani defects a factor?

Christina Lewicky-Gaupp*, Cynthia Brincat, Aisha Yousuf, Divya A. Patel, John O L Delancey, Dee E. Fenner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective: We sought to compare pelvic floor structure and function between older women with and without fecal incontinence (FI) and young continent (YC) women. Study Design: YC (n = 9) and older continent (OC) (n = 9) women were compared to older women with FI (older incontinent [OI]) (n = 8). Patients underwent a pelvic organ prolapse quantification, measurement of levator ani (LA) force at rest and with maximum contraction, and magnetic resonance imaging. Displacement of structures and LA defects were determined on dynamic magnetic resonance imaging. Results: LA defects were more common in the OI vs the YC (75% vs 11%, P = .01) and OC (22%, P = .14) groups; women with FI were more likely to have LA defects than women without (odds ratio, 14.0, 95% confidence interval, 1.8-106.5). OI women generated 27.0% and 30.1% less force during maximum contraction vs the OC (P = .13) and YC (P = .04) groups. During Kegel, OI absolute structural displacements were smaller than in the OC group (P = .01). Conclusion: OI women commonly have LA defects, and cannot augment pelvic floor strength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491.e1-491.e6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • fecal incontinence
  • levator ani defects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Fecal incontinence in older women: are levator ani defects a factor?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this