BiofeedbackDiarrhea/ConstipationIncontinence: Fecal

Biofeedback: Constipation and fecal incontinence

 Researchers from the University Hospital, in Tübingen, Germany, reviewed the evidence.

First, the details.

  • For constipation, 8 studies were identified.
  • For fecal incontinence, 11 trials were identified.
  • The data were pooled and a meta-analysis conducted.

And, the results.

  • Biofeedback training was significantly better than non-biofeedback (laxatives, placebo, sham training, and botox injection).
  • Biofeedback was as effective as electromyographic biofeedback.

Fecal incontinence

  • Biofeedback was as effective as non-biofeedback therapy.
  • There were no differences among various modes of biofeedback.

The bottom line?
The authors commented that the studies were flawed, with variable endpoints and a lack of quality.

Despite this, they concluded, “Biofeedback training for pelvic floor dyssynergia [aka anismus: failure of pelvic floor muscles to relax, or a paradoxical contraction of these muscles, with defecation] shows substantial specific therapeutic effect.”

By comparison, “Biofeedback training for incontinence is still lacking evidence for efficacy.”

“In both conditions, biofeedback seems to play a minor role.”

More positive reports on biofeedback and fecal incontinence are here and here.

7/2/09 18:13 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.