Biofeedback therapy for bowel dysfunction

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This leaflet will give you information about what biofeedback is, how it works and how long the treatment is. A member of the team will speak to you about everything in this leaflet, but if you have any questions, please ask us.

What is biofeedback therapy for bowel dysfunction?

Biofeedback is a nurse and physiotherapist led service to help patients experiencing difficulty with the control of their bowel. This may be difficulty controlling your bowel motions and needing to rush to get to the toilet on time (urgency), being unable to reach the toilet on time and leaking gas, liquid or solid stool (urge incontinence) or leaking without your knowledge (passive incontinence). Our biofeedback team can also offer treatment for those experiencing constipation or difficulty in emptying their bowel. This may be difficulty in passing stools at all or not going for long periods of time. It may also be needing to strain excessively and not feeling empty after opening your bowel.

Why have I been referred for biofeedback?

You have been referred as you may have one of the conditions described above or something similar. For many patients this can be a difficult topic to discuss, but it is important to remember that the more information you provide the nurses with, the better they will be able to help you.

During the first appointment with the biofeedback team, we will discuss the issue that you are having with your bowel control, how this affects your lifestyle and your general health. Using this information, the nurse or physiotherapist will put together an initial treatment plan for you to try. This may involve exercises, techniques to help you to empty your bowel effectively, changes to your diet and sometimes medications.

How long will my treatment last?

For most patients, biofeedback treatment will consist of four or five appointments. We will try to make sure that you see the same nurse or physiotherapist for each of your appointments unless we feel that one of our other specialists would be more suitable to improve your symptoms further. It may take several months to achieve the best results and you will need you to follow the treatment plan given to you, including doing prescribed exercises and following dietary changes at home.

You will have been sent a symptom questionnaire with your appointment letter, so please fill in and bring it with you to your first appointment.

Who can I contact for more information?

Please contact the biofeedback team on 020 8963 7189 or 020 8453 2458, Monday to Friday between 8.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m.

General Trust information

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

PALS is a confidential service for people who would like information, help or advice about the services provided by any of our hospitals. Please call 020 8869 5118 between 9.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. or email

Please note that this service does not provide clinical advice so please contact the relevant department directly to discuss any concerns or queries about your upcoming test, examination or operation.

If you would like this information in an easy to read format, large print, braille, different format or language, please contact the PALS team on 020 8869 5118 or email We will do our best to meet your needs.

Biofeedback therapy for bowel dysfunction
First published: April 2023 Review date: April 2025
Reference: 102023

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