Biofeedback therapy for constipation in adults

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Feb;25(1):159-66. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2011.01.004.


Dyssynergic defecation is common and affects up to one half of patients with chronic constipation. This acquired behavioural problem is due to the inability to coordinate the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to evacuate stools. Today, it is possible to diagnose this problem and treat this effectively with biofeedback therapy, history, prospective stool diaries, and anorectal physiological tests. Several randomised controlled trails have demonstrated that biofeedback therapy using neuromuscular training and visual and verbal feedback is not only efficacious but superior to other modalities such as laxative or sham training. Also the symptom improvement is due a change in the underlying pathophysiology. Development of user friendly approaches to biofeedback therapy and use of home biofeedback programs will significantly enhance the adoption of this treatment by gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons in the future. Improved reimbursement for this proven and relatively inexpensive treatment will carry a significant impact on the problem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biofeedback, Psychology*
  • Constipation / physiopathology
  • Constipation / psychology
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Defecation*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Floor / innervation*
  • Sensation
  • Treatment Outcome