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GRACE - LearninG from Women’s ExpeRiences of Anal InContinencE after Vaginal Birth

Anal Incontinence (AI) is the inability to reach the toilet in time or control flatus. One in five women develop AI in the first five years after having a vaginal birth. The timing of onset varies; some women having AI early after childbirth, whilst many develop symptoms during the menopause. AI has a significant negative impact on a woman’s quality of life with undesirable effects on her psychosocial and emotional wellbeing. The main barrier for women accessing treatment is a lack of education on AI both for women and health care professionals.


  • Explore perspectives and experiences of women who experience AI within seven years after giving birth, or at their menopause.
  • Develop an online resourceLink opens in a new window to meet the information and support needs of women
  • Uncover key facilitators and barriers to identification, support and treatment of AI by GPs, to inform development of an e-Learning education resource

Funded by:

NIHR Research for Patient Benefit

Research team members:

Dr Sarah Hillman (PI), Professor Debra Bick, Professor Kate Seers, Dr Abi Eccles, Dr Jo Parsons, Mrs Helen McGowan 


MASIC FoundationLink opens in a new window


September 2021 to end of March 2023

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Dr Sarah Hillman

s dot hillman at warwick dot ac dot uk