Objective: Faecal incontinence is a common and embarrassing problem for many individuals. Some patients remained symptomatic despite the availability of different treatments. There is a limited range of commercially available products designed to cope with faecal incontinence. The anal plug has been developed to contain the loss of stool. This study aimed to evaluate the use of anal plug in Asian patients with intractable faecal soilage and incontinence judged by clinical and functional outcomes.
Method: A prospective study of consecutive patients with intractable faecal incontinence was carried out. Suitable patients tested the anal plug for 3 weeks. They completed a structured questionnaire on its use including the ASCRS quality of life questionnaire for faecal incontinence.
Results: Thirty patients, median age 63 (interquartile range 52-70) years, participated in the trial. Nineteen of 30 patients were comfortable wearing the plug, seven patients withdrew from the study because of discomfort, and four had tolerable discomfort and managed to complete the trial protocol. Patients who tolerated the plug found that it was highly successful in controlling faecal incontinence. Twenty-one of 30 patients wished to continue to use the plug regularly after the study. There was a trend toward improvement in quality of life scores during the study.
Conclusion: The anal plug was effective in containing faecal incontinence and was well tolerated in the majority of patients selected for this treatment.