Is Fluid Intake Associated With Fecal Incontinence in Women?

Female Pelvic Med Reconstr Surg. 2020 Feb;26(2):137-140. doi: 10.1097/SPV.0000000000000835.


Objective: The primary aim of this study was to determine if fecal incontinence (FI) is associated with self-reported fluid intake in women seeking care for pelvic floor disorders. The secondary aim was to determine the association between bowel symptoms and fluids associated with FI.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study of women presenting for evaluation of pelvic floor disorders from 2009 to 2015. The presence of FI was defined as an affirmative response of any frequency to the question, "During the last 4 weeks, how often have you leaked or soiled yourself with stool?" Data on fluid intake and bowel symptoms were collected using the Questionnaire-based Voiding Diary and Colorectal-Anal Distress Inventory short form, respectively. The relationship between FI and quartiles of fluid intake, as well as the relationship between bowel symptoms and fluids associated with FI, was analyzed.

Results: Nine hundred twenty-four women were included: 379 (41%) with and 545 (59%) without FI. There was an association between FI and increasing total carbonated fluid intake (P = 0.009) and decreasing water intake (P = 0.009). The associations between FI and carbonated fluid intake and FI and water intake remained significant after controlling for patient characteristics (P < 0.05). There was a significant association between the symptom of straining to defecate and carbonated beverage intake (P = 0.046), which remained significant after controlling for patient characteristics (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Consumption of carbonated beverages is associated with FI in women. Intake of carbonated fluids is associated with bowel symptoms that may exacerbate FI symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Carbonated Water / adverse effects*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • Fecal Incontinence* / diagnosis
  • Fecal Incontinence* / epidemiology
  • Fecal Incontinence* / etiology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Large / physiopathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Pelvic Floor Disorders* / physiopathology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Carbonated Water