Jargon buster


Surgical Services

Biofeedback - Bowel Retraining Programme

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

You have been referred by your Consultant for a course of biofeedback (bowel retraining) at either the Royal Victoria Infirmary or Freeman Hospital.

Following recent tests it has been decided that you may benefit from this type of therapy to help you manage your bowel problem. The aim of this information is to highlight what is involved during your biofeedback programme.

What is biofeedback for bowel problems?

Biofeedback is a useful treatment for selected patients suffering from either faecal incontinence (involuntary leakage of solid/liquid stool or wind) or constipation. It is a bowel retraining programme which involves either training muscles to relax or strengthening muscle tone depending on your symptoms. It aims to improve your quality of life

A fully trained Specialist Nurse, will plan your programme of biofeedback with you.

What does Biofeedback involve?

Biofeedback involves inserting a small probe or balloon into your back passage, which is connected to a computer or machine. By the use of a monitor you and your Nurse Specialist will be able to observe on the screen how your muscles are working.

For many patients biofeedback is a successful alternative to surgery - it is safe and has no side effects. In some patients it may cause minor discomfort, but should not be painful. We understand that it may cause some embarrassment, however your dignity will be maintained as much as possible at all times.

Before your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

On your first visit you will meet the Nurse Specialist who will be looking after you, who will explain in detail your previous test results.  Your history will be taken which will involve answering a series of questions about your past medical history, medication, diet and bowel problems. 

During your procedureShow [+]Hide [-]

The function of the muscles in your anus (back passage) will be assessed using a special biofeedback machine.  From this assessment your treatment programme will be tailored to meet your individual needs, including a series of exercises for you to carry out at home. 

This session will last approximately 45 minutes to an hour and if someone is accompanying you refreshments are available nearby. Please ask for more informaion at reception.

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