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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Nov;21(11):1133-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2009.01345.x. Epub 2009 Jun 30.

Biofeedback therapy in fecal incontinence and constipation.

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University Hospital, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Tübingen, Germany.


We examine the collected evidence for efficacy of biofeedback therapy (BFT) in incontinence and constipation by means of meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. PubMed search was performed to identify treatment trials that match quality criteria (adequate control groups, randomization). They were entered into meta-analyses using fixed effect models and computing odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of treatment effects. For constipation, eight BFT trials were identified. In four trials, electromyographic (EMG) BFT was compared to non-BFT treatments (laxatives, placebo, sham training and botox injection), while in the remaining four studies EMG BFT was compared to other BFT (balloon pressure, verbal feedback) modes. Meta-analyses revealed superiority of BFT to non-BFT (OR: 3.657; 95% CI: 2.127-6.290, P < 0.001) but equal efficacy of EMG BFT to other BF applications (OR: 1.436; CI: 0.692-3.089; P = 0.319). For fecal incontinence, a total of 11 trials were identified, of which six compared BFT to other treatment options (sensory training, pelvic floor exercise and electrical stimulation) and five compared one BFT option to other modalities of BFT. BFT was equal effective than non-BFT therapy (OR: 1.189, CI: 0.689-2.051, P = 0.535). No difference was found when various modes BFT were compared (OR: 1.278, CI: 0.736-2.220, P = 0.384). Included trials showed a substantial lack of quality and harmonization, e.g. variable endpoints and missing psychological assessment across studies. BFT for pelvic floor dyssynergia shows substantial specific therapeutic effect while BFT for incontinence is still lacking evidence for efficacy. However, in both conditions the mode of BFT seems to play a minor role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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