Anal Incontinence Measurement Scale

Investigators in the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network have been conducting research surrounding bladder and bowel problems in women for over 10 years. As the leaders in the field of Pelvic Floor Medicine, they recognize the value of performing good, quality research that helps physicians all over the world to best treat women with these problems. In many areas, there are lapses, or shortcomings, in this research. The investigators of the PFDN are trying to fill in these gaps.

One area that was lacking involved women with anal incontinence, or accidental bowel leakage of gas or stool. The investigators of the PFDN are designing a treatment trial for women with this type of incontinence, and recognized that there really isn’t a good questionnaire for women that they could use to measure differences before and after treatment. Although many questionnaires might exist, they are either not appropriate for these women, or they do not truly explore the symptoms that the investigators think are important to women struggling with accidental bowel leakage.

For this reason, the investigators designed the AIMS study with the intent of developing a questionnaire that can be used in both future research and clinical care. Women with anal incontinence attended focus groups where they were asked about their symptoms, and how these symptoms affect their daily lives. Based upon these interviews, a questionnaire was created and will be tested in another study that will compare treatments for anal incontinence in women. Once the investigators determine that the questionnaire is valid (the questions are logical and most women interpret them similarly) and reliable (women answer the questions similarly if they are asked them on two different occasions), the questionnaire will be published and made available to doctors and researchers throughout the world.