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A systematic review and meta-analysis of biofeedback therapy for dyssynergic defaecation in adults



Dyssynergic defaecation is a common form of functional constipation that responds poorly to conservative interventions. This systematic review and meta-analysis assesses the effectiveness of biofeedback therapy for dyssynergic defaecation using global clinical improvement as the primary outcome, and resolution of the dyssynergic pattern on anorectal physiology and quality of life as secondary outcomes.


MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, PsychInfo, CINAHL, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched from inception to March 2019 using a predefined strategy. Randomised controlled trials of adult patients with dyssynergic defaecation and a biofeedback treatment arm were eligible for review. Studies including patients with secondary forms of constipation were excluded. Data abstraction and risk of bias assessments were conducted by consensus between two authors.


Eleven trials including 725 participants were included in the narrative review. Sixty-three percent of patients treated with biofeedback reported clinical improvement. Six studies included in the meta-analysis showed biofeedback superior to non-biofeedback therapy for the primary outcome (OR 3.63, CI 1.10–11.93, p = 0.03). Heterogeneity between trials and overall risk of bias was high.


Biofeedback therapy is recommended for patients referred to tertiary units with dyssynergic defaecation who fail conservative therapy. Future research should be directed towards identifying validated outcomes and the optimum method for delivering biofeedback therapy. Home biofeedback therapy may improve accessibility and recruitment to future clinical trials.

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This systematic review was not pre-registered with an institutional registry.

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Correspondence to C. J. Young.

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Moore, D., Young, C.J. A systematic review and meta-analysis of biofeedback therapy for dyssynergic defaecation in adults. Tech Coloproctol 24, 909–918 (2020).

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  • Biofeedback
  • Dyssynergic defaecation
  • Evacuation disorder