n Obstetrics and Gynaecology Forum - Post-partum anal incontinence in SA : a myth or reality? : review

Volume 24, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1027-9148



Anal incontinence (AI) impacts negatively on the quality of life of affected individuals. Information regarding this condition in South Africa is sparse. Determining the true incidence of AI is often difficult. Sphincter disruption and nerve damage, as a complication of childbirth are thought to be the main contributory factors to the development of post-partum AI. Local studies suggest that pregnancy itself may be a risk factor for AI and there appears to be an interracial variation in incidence. There is no correlation between symptoms of AI and occult anal sphincter injury. Women with symptoms of AI should be offered assessment, treatment, and follow up evaluations. The reluctance of patients and health personnel to acknowledge or discuss it, compounds the difficulties in determining the true incidence of, and influence of the various etiological factors for AI in our South African population.

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