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Dis Colon Rectum. 1999 Nov;42(11):1388-93.

Prospective, randomized trial comparing four biofeedback techniques for patients with constipation.

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  • 1Department of Colorectal Surgery, Cleveland Clinic Florida, Fort Lauderdale, USA.



The aim of this study was to compare four methods of biofeedback for patients with constipation.


Thirty-six patients were prospectively, randomly assigned to one of four protocols: 1) outpatient intra-anal electromyographic biofeedback training; 2) electromyographic biofeedback training plus intrarectal balloon training; 3) electromyographic biofeedback training plus home training; or 4) electromyographic biofeedback training, balloon training, and home training. All 36 patients received weekly one-hour outpatient biofeedback training. Success was measured by increased unassisted bowel movements and reduction in cathartic use. In all instances patients maintained a daily log in which documentation was maintained regarding each bowel evacuation and the need for any cathartics. RESULTS; There was a statistically significant increase in unassisted bowel movements for Groups 1, 2, and 4 (P < 0.05) and a reduction in the use of cathartics in Groups 1, 2, and 3 (P < 0.05).


There was a significant improvement in outcome after all four treatment protocols for constipation; however, no significant difference was found among the treatments. Therefore, electromyographic biofeedback training alone is as effective as with the addition of balloon training, home training, or both.

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