Priorities for treatment research from different professional perspectives

Gastroenterology. 2004 Jan;126(1 Suppl 1):S180-5. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2003.10.082.


The consensus conference "Advancing the Treatment of Fecal and Urinary Incontinence Through Research" had as one of its goals the development of a comprehensive list of research priorities. Experts from all disciplines that treat incontinence-gastroenterology, pediatric gastroenterology, urology, urogynecology, colorectal surgery, geriatrics, neurology, nursing, and psychology-and patient advocates were asked to identify their highest priorities for treatment-related research. Meeting participants were shown the aggregated list and invited to propose additional priorities. Treatments for fecal incontinence (biofeedback, sphincteroplasty, antidiarrheal and laxative medications, and sacral nerve stimulation) require validation by randomized, controlled trials. For urinary incontinence, the greatest need is to compare pharmacological, behavioral, and surgical treatments. Trials assessing combined treatments (e.g., biofeedback plus surgery vs. surgery alone or biofeedback alone) are also needed. New drugs are needed that target anal canal resting pressure in fecal incontinence and hypersensitivity to distention in urge urinary incontinence. It may be possible to substantially reduce the incidence of incontinence through modification of obstetric practices (e.g., avoiding episiotomies or offering elective cesarean delivery to high-risk patients), providing pelvic floor exercises before childbirth, and educating patients to avoid straining during defecation. For the elderly, practical behavioral and pharmacological treatments are needed that can postpone or avoid institutionalization. Social science research may identify ways to counteract the social stigma of fecal incontinence and assist physicians in providing patients with more comprehensive and understandable information on the risks associated with different treatment options.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Fecal Incontinence / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy*