Prospective study of biofeedback for treatment of constipation

N. A. Rieger, D. A. Wattchow, R. G. Sarre, G. T.P. Saccone, C. A. Rich, S. J. Cooper, V. R. Marshall, J. L. McCall

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29 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: This study was designed to evaluate prospectively the results of pelvic floor physiotherapy with the aid of biofeedback in a heterogeneous group of patients with intractable constipation. METHODS: Biofeedback was used to treat 19 patients (age range, 16-78 (median, 63) years) with intractable constipation. Assessment, using visual linear analog scales of symptoms, was performed prospectively by an independent researcher. Biofeedback was performed by a physiotherapist, and patients were required to attend six sessions on an outpatient basis. The cause of constipation was heterogeneous, with no specific disorder being implicated on testing with anal manometry, defecating proctography, and colonic transit time. RESULTS: At six weeks, there was a median 27 percent (range, -8-93 percent) improvement in symptom scores. At six months, there was a median 23 percent (range, -54-64 percent) improvement in symptom scores. These were statistically significant compared with the scores at outset, six weeks (P = 0.0006), and six months (P = 0.012). However, only two (12.5 percent) patients at the six-month follow-up had an improvement of greater than 50 percent in their symptoms. CONCLUSION: Biofeedback is not recommended in the management of constipation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1143-1148
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of The Colon and Rectum
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofeedback
  • Constipation


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