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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(2):CD002111.

Biofeedback and/or sphincter exercises for the treatment of faecal incontinence in adults.

Author information

1
Physiology Unit, St. Mark's Hospital, North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford Road, Harrow, UK, HA1 3UJ. csnorton@aol.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Faecal incontinence is a particularly embarrassing and distressing condition with significant medical, social and economic implications. Sphincter exercises and biofeedback therapy have been used to treat the symptoms of people with faecal incontinence. However, standards of treatment are still lacking and the magnitude of alleged benefits has yet to be established.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the effects of biofeedback and/or anal sphincter exercises/pelvic floor muscle training for the treatment of faecal incontinence in adults.

SEARCH STRATEGY:

We searched the Cochrane Incontinence Group trials register, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline, Embase and all reference lists of relevant articles up to November 1999. Date of the most recent searches: November 1999.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

All randomised or quasi-randomised trials evaluating biofeedback and/or anal sphincter exercises in adults with faecal incontinence.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:

Three reviewers assessed the methodological quality of eligible trials and two reviewers independently extracted data from included trials. A wide range of outcome measures were considered.

MAIN RESULTS:

Only five eligible studies were identified with a total of 109 participants. In the majority of trials methodological quality was poor or uncertain. All trials were small and employed a limited range of outcome measures. Follow-up information was not consistently reported amongst trials. Only two trials provided data in a form suitable for statistical analyses. There are suggestions that rectal volume discrimination training improves continence more than sham training and that anal biofeedback combined with exercises and electrical stimulation provides more short-term benefits than vaginal biofeedback and exercises for women with obstetric-related faecal incontinence. Further conclusions are not warranted from the available data.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS:

The limited number of identified trials together with their methodological weaknesses do not allow a reliable assessment of the possible role of sphincter exercises and biofeedback therapy in the management of people with faecal incontinence. There is a suggestions that some elements of biofeedback therapy and sphincter exercises may have a therapeutic effect, but this is not certain. Larger well-designed trials are needed to enable safe conclusions.

PMID:
10796859
DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD002111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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