Biofeedback for gastrointestinal disorders: A review of the literature
Although biofeedback has been applied to many gastrointestinal disorders, including reflux esophagitis, peptic ulcer disease, and irritable bowel syndrome, the limited number of reports precludes conclusions concerning its safety or efficacy in these disorders. Most studies have used biofeedback in the treatment of fecal incontinence. Uncontrolled trials have shown this procedure can reduce substantially the frequency of incontinence in 70% to 83% of patients at up to 1 to 2 years of follow-up. Biofeedback has been most successful in patients with a surgical cause for fecal incontinence, but recent data suggest the procedure may also be useful in diabetics. The few number of sessions required, its apparent safety, physiological appeal, and apparent success suggest biofeedback is a promising therapy for this disorder, but it remains inadequately tested.