The Quality of Health Information Available on the Internet for Patients With Fecal Incontinence

Priyanka K. Kadam-Halani, Daniel D. Lee, Mary D. Sammel, Lily A. Arya, Uduak U. Andy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective The aim of this study was to assess the quality of information available through the Internet for a variety of search terms for fecal incontinence (FI). Methods Using the Google search engine, searches were performed for 4 terms: "bowel control problem," "accidental bowel leakage," "fecal incontinence," and "leaking stool." The DISCERN quality analysis tool and JAMA benchmark criteria were implemented by 2 independent reviewers to evaluate the first 20 search results for each term. To determine if 1 term provided higher-quality information, mean DISCERN and JAMA criteria scores as well as Web site category were compared using analysis of variance and Pearson χ2 tests. Results Mean DISCERN scores for all terms fell in the middle range of possible scores. DISCERN questions addressing risks of treatment options, effects of treatment on quality of life, and gaps in knowledge/differences in expert opinion had the lowest scores across all search terms (range of scores, 1.1-1.7/5). JAMA criteria on authorship and attribution were most frequently missing on average in 48 of 80 and 42 of 80 Web sites, respectively. There were significant differences in mean DISCERN scores among the terms, with "fecal incontinence" yielding the highest mean score. The term "accidental bowel leakage" yielded the highest number of marketing Web sites, whereas "leaking stool" had the highest proportion of social Web sites. Conclusions The quality of available information about FI on the Internet is variable, and key components are often missing. The term "fecal incontinence" yielded the highest quality information of all search terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-124
Number of pages5
JournalFemale Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Internet Information quality
  • accidental bowel leakage
  • fecal incontinence
  • health care information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Quality of Health Information Available on the Internet for Patients With Fecal Incontinence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this