Take 20: Bowel leakage affects 1 in 10

2 minute read

Around 10% of the Australian population suffers from bowel leakage


Around 10% of the Australian population suffers from bowel leakage.

“The very nature of bowel leakage is of course associated with quite considerable embarrassment,” says Professor Marc Gladman, a colorectal surgeon at the Sydney Colorectal & Pelvic Floor Centre.

For this reason, it is difficult to estimate the proportion of people who have this condition.

“Sufferers aren’t always very keen or indeed eager to volunteer that they indeed have this problem,” explains Professor Gladman.

His research team, however, arrived at the surprising 1 in 10 figure.

“[To] put that into perspective, if we think about other very common conditions that people will be used to visiting their GP with – things like diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer – in fact bowel leakage affects more patients than all of those three conditions put together,” says Professor Gladman.

In this video, Professor Gladman addresses these topics:

  • Faecal incontinence, better known as “bowel leakage” is often very distressing. Are certain groups more likely to have this problem?
  • What is the prevalence of problems with bowel control? How many go untreated?
  • Important things to look out for in the history and during the examination
  • What management strategies can GPs initiate?
  • Is referral to a pelvic floor physiotherapist the best option? What about men with bowel leakage?

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