Faecal incontinence: a healthcare taboo
Faecal incontinence (FI) is one of the most taboo conditions in healthcare. It is a topic that is unlikely to be raised by individuals and may be avoided by health professionals. For those who experience FI, it is a devastating condition that can result in depression, social isolation, financial burden and skin breakdown. It is also associated with secondary morbidities and disabilities and has negative effects on a person's quality of life (International Continence Society (ICS), 2015).
People with FI describe spending considerable time and attention planning for accidents, avoiding situations where accidents might occur and the extreme anxiety that these unpredictable events generate (ICS, 2015). The ICS (2015) also identified that FI has serious consequences for sufferers by affecting their self-esteem and body image and creating feelings of shame and embarrassment, which can then impact on all aspects of their life. This is supported by Duelund-Jakobsen et al (2016), who added that FI reduces a person's ability to work and impacts their sexuality as they worry about odours and accidents during intimacy.
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