Background: In the short-term, biofeedback therapy improves symptoms and anorectal function in patients with faecal incontinence but whether there is long-term improvement is incompletely understood. Aim: To prospectively evaluate bowel symptoms and anorectal function, both immediately and 12 months after biofeedback therapy. Methods: A total of 105 consecutive patients (male/female = 12/93) with faecal incontinence, unresponsive to supervised medical treatment were enrolled in biofeedback training consisting of biweekly pelvic muscle strengthening exercises, anal squeeze and sensory-motor coordination training, and reinforcement sessions at 3, 6 and 12 months. Anorectal manometry, saline continence test, stool diaries and bowel satisfaction scores were used to assess improvement. Results: 94/105 (male/female = 10/84) completed training and 11 dropped out. Sixty completed 1-year assessment. At 1-year, 63% reported no episodes of incontinence. Biofeedback decreased (P < 0.001) stool frequency and number of incontinence episodes and increased (P < 0.001) bowel satisfaction score, anal resting and squeeze pressures, squeeze duration and ability to retain saline infusion increased (P < 0.001), both immediately and at 1 year. Sensory thresholds decreased (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Biofeedback therapy produced sustained improvement in bowel symptoms and anorectal function. Because it is safe, inexpensive compared with other surgical interventions, and effective, biofeedback should be offered to incontinent patients unresponsive to medical therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)