Background: A colostomy offers definitive treatment for individuals with fecal incontinence (FI). Patients and physicians remain apprehensive regarding this option because the quality of life (QOL) with a colostomy is presumably worse than living with FI. The aim of this study, therefore, was to compare the QOL of colostomy patients to patients with FI. Methods: A cross-sectional postal survey of patients with FI or an end colostomy was undertaken. QOL measures used included the Short Form 36 General Quality of Life Assessment (SF-36) and the Fecal Incontinence Quality of Life score (FIQOL). Results: The colostomy group included 39 patients and the FI group included 71 patients. The average FI score for FI group was 12 ± 4.9 (0 = complete continence, 20 = severe incontinence). In the colostomy group the average colostomy function score was 12.9 ± 3.8 (7 = good function, 35 = poor function). Analysis of the SF-36 revealed higher social function score in the colostomy group compared to the FI group. Analysis of the FIQOL revealed higher scores in the coping, embarrassment, lifestyle scales, and depression scales in the colostomy group compared to the FI group. Conclusion: A colostomy is a viable option for patients who suffer from FI and offers a definitive cure with improved QOL.
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