Background: Fecal urgency is a symptom generally associated with diarrhea but is also reported by patients with constipation. Our aim was to (a) assess the prevalence and burden of fecal urgency in constipated patients (b) evaluate gastrointestinal and psychiatric predictors of moderate to severe fecal urgency in these patients.
Methods: Patients presenting consecutively to a tertiary outpatient gastroenterology clinic with constipation were included. Patients were considered to have moderate to severe fecal urgency if ≥50% of bowel movements (BMs) in the past 3 months were associated with fecal urgency. Anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance were diagnosed using a Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) t-score of ≥60. Abdominal pain and constipation severity were also assessed using PROMIS questionnaires. Univariable and stepwise logistic regression were used to identify predictors of moderate to severe fecal urgency.
Key results: Of 139 constipated patients, 70.8% reported experiencing fecal urgency in the past 3 months and 25.8% reported being significantly bothered by it. Moderate to severe fecal urgency was reported by 27% of 139 patients. Frequency of loose stools (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1, 2.0) and presence of anxiety (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1, 5.0) were independent predictors of moderate to severe fecal urgency.
Conclusions and inferences: Fecal urgency is common in patients with constipation and is frequently bothersome to many patients. We identified clinical and psychiatric factors associated with moderate to severe fecal urgency in constipated patients with potential therapeutic implications if validated in future studies.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.