The role of biofeedback in functional gastrointestinal disorders

Rebecca Burgell, Gillian Skardoon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Other


This chapter discusses the practical use of biofeedback, including the instruments utilized and its evidence base, in functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). Biofeedback is a behavioural therapy using 'operant conditioning' techniques, including reinforcement with verbal instruction and instrumental stimuli, to modify breathing, intraabdominal pressure and/or pelvic floor muscle strength and coordination. Biofeedback has an established role in number of FGIDs, including dyssynergic defaecation, slow transit constipation and faecal incontinence, and limited evidence in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), levator ani syndrome and upper FGIDs. Instruments utilized for biofeedback include manometry, electromyogram (EMG), rectal balloons, ultrasound, digital guidance or visual feedback techniques. Dyssynergic defaecation is defined as a paradoxical contraction or failure of pelvic floor muscle relaxation during defaecation. The use of biofeedback in dyssynergic defaecation has a substantial evidence base, consisting predominantly of uncontrolled trials and small randomized controlled trials. Faecal incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of liquid or solid stool leading to social or hygiene problems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFunctional Gastrointestinal Disorder
Subtitle of host publicationA Biopsychosocial Approach
EditorsSimon R Knowles, Julian Stern, Geoff Hebbard
Place of PublicationLondon UK
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315670355
ISBN (Print)9780367198732, 9781138947030
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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