Investigation of the pathophysiology of fecal seepage

Satish S.C. Rao, Ramazan Ozturk, Mary Stessman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Unintentional seepage of stool without awareness is common but its pathophysiology is poorly understood. Our aim was to examine the underlying mechanism(s) for fecal seepage. METHODS: We evaluated prospectively 25 patients with fecal seepage, by performing anorectal manometry, balloon expulsion, saline infusion, pudendal nerve latency tests, and symptom assessments and compared their data with 26 fecal incontinence patients and 43 healthy controls. RESULTS: Predisposing factors for fecal seepage were back injury (7), obstetric injury (6), hemorrhoidectomy (3), pelvic radiotherapy (1), and unknown (8). In the seepage group, the resting and squeeze sphincter pressures were lower (p < 0.02) than healthy controls, but higher (p < 0.002) than incontinent group. During straining, the intrarectal pressure and defecation index were lower (p < 0.05) in the seepage group compared to controls; 72% showed dyssynergia and balloon expulsion time was prolonged (p < 0.01). Threshold for first rectal sensation was impaired (p < 0.002) in the seepage group compared to controls and incontinent group. The seepage group retained more (p < 0.001) saline than the incontinent group but pudendal nerve latency time was impaired (p < 0.05) in both patient groups compared to controls. CONCLUSIONS: Anal sphincter function and rectal reservoir capacity were relatively well preserved but most patients with seepage demonstrated dyssynergia with impaired rectal sensation and impaired balloon expulsion. Thus, incomplete evacuation of stool may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of seepage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2204-2209
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Investigation of the pathophysiology of fecal seepage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this