Biofeedback is effective therapy for fecal incontinence and constipation

Arch Surg. 1997 Aug;132(8):829-33; discussion 833-4. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430320031004.


Objective: To define the role of biofeedback in fecal incontinence and constipation.

Design: A case series of patients with fecal incontinence or constipation with pelvic floor dysfunction.

Setting: Tertiary care center with an anorectal physiology laboratory.

Patients: Patients with 1 of the following: (1) chronic or acute fecal incontinence, (2) fecal incontinence and neurologic injury, or (3) constipation with pelvic floor dysfunction.

Intervention: Electromyogram-guided biofeedback retraining of the pelvic floor.

Main outcome measures: Resolution of electromyographic abnormalities and subjective resolution of fecal incontinence or constipation.

Results: Of the patients with fecal incontinence, 92% experienced significant improvement with biofeedback without significant improvement in electromyographic values. Of the patients with constipation and pelvic floor dysfunction 80% experienced improvement with biofeedback without significant change in electromyographic values.

Conclusion: Biofeedback is effective in selected patients with fecal incontinence and constipation with pelvic floor dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biofeedback, Psychology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / physiopathology
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Fecal Incontinence / physiopathology
  • Fecal Incontinence / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology