Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Dietary Fiber Intake & Risk of Fecal Incontinence

Gastroenterology; ePub 2018 May 11; Staller, et al

Higher long-term intake of dietary fiber is associated with decreased risk of fecal incontinence (FI) in older women, a recent study found. The prospective study examined this association among 58,330 older women (mean age 73) in the Nurses’ Health Study who were free of FI in 2008. Energy-adjusted, long-term dietary fiber intake was determined starting in 1984 and updated through 2006. Researchers found:

  • There were 7,056 incident cases of FI during 193,655 person-years of follow-up.
  • Women in the highest quintile of fiber intake (25 g/day) had an 18% reduction in risk of FI compare with women in the lowest quintile (13.5 g/day).
  • This reduction was the greatest for risk of liquid stool FI, was 31% lower among women with the highest intake of fiber compared to those with the lowest intake (HR, 0.69).
  • Risk of FI was not significantly associated with fiber source.


Staller K, Song M, Grodstein F. Increased long-term dietary fiber intake is associated with decreased risk of fecal incontinence in older women. [Published online ahead of print May 11, 2018]. Gastroenterology. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2018.05.021.

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