Skip to main content

Using Biofeedback to Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Using Biofeedback to Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

One in five women and men in the United States suffer from some sort of pelvic floor disorder during their lifetime. Pelvic floor disorders more often affect women than men, mostly due to their anatomy and also the pressures and trauma of pregnancy and childbirth. In fact, half of women over age 55 have a pelvic floor disorder.

At Colon and Rectal Surgeons of Greater Hartford, our colorectal experts diagnose and treat pelvic floor dysfunction at our offices in Bloomfield, South Windsor, and Plainville, Connecticut. One of the most effective treatments for pelvic floor dysfunction is biofeedback. Here’s how and why it works.

Your pelvic floor is made of muscle

All the organs in your genitourinary tract are supported by a muscular sling called the pelvic floor. The muscles and connective tissue that make up your pelvic floor support your:

Due to age, trauma, or an inherent weakness, your pelvic floor may not properly support these organs. When your organs aren’t supported, and the muscles that support them are lax, you may have a variety of problems, including problems with elimination such as constipation and/or urinary incontinence.

You can rehabilitate your pelvic floor

You’ve probably heard of Kegel exercises. Women who leak urine or have other forms of urinary incontinence are often advised to do Kegels. Men with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which also affects urination, benefit from Kegels, too.

However, Kegels are difficult to perform correctly without the guidance of a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor. Depending on the level of your pelvic floor dysfunction, Kegels may also be insufficient to resolve pelvic floor dysfunctions such as:

Biofeedback is a type of pelvic floor training that uses a sensor and a monitor to help you identify behaviors that may contribute to your constipation or incontinence. Biofeedback also teaches you how to use your pelvic floor muscles correctly.

Biofeedback teaches you to isolate muscles

Your nurse places the sensor in your anus while you hand-hold the connected monitor. They then guide you through a series of exercises that teach you the difference between contracting and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles. 

You can see the result of your efforts on the monitor. The visual feedback helps you see the effects your efforts have on your muscles. Your nurse also gives you exercises to strengthen the muscles so they support your rectum and other organs.

Once you’re comfortable flexing and relaxing your pelvic floor, you may also practice passing “stools” during biofeedback. The stools are actually just water-filled balloons that we place in your anus. 

You learn to relax your rectal muscles so that the “stools” pass easily, without effort or straining. We can also give you the biofeedback sensor and monitor so you can practice at home.

Biofeedback puts you back in control

By using biofeedback to isolate and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, you’re better able to control when and how you pass stools. In one biofeedback study with 282 patients, 94% improved their colorectal symptoms after two weeks of biofeedback training.

If you have constipation or fecal incontinence caused by pelvic floor dysfunction, find out if biofeedback can help you regain control by booking a consultation today. Call our team at 860-242-8591, or schedule an appointment online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Are the Signs of Colon Cancer?

What Are the Signs of Colon Cancer?

You’ve noticed changes in your bowels or you have abdominal pain. You don’t think you’re at risk for colon cancer, but neither do most people who are ultimately diagnosed with this potentially fatal disease. When should you contact a specialist?
Pain When Using the Bathroom: When to Worry

Pain When Using the Bathroom: When to Worry

If you’re in pain when you have a bowel movement, it’s time to pay attention. Passing stool should be a natural, automatic experience, free from straining, pushing, or pain. Why does it hurt to go to the bathroom? Here’s when you should find out.

The Constipation Relief Diet

When you’re constipated, you want relief and prevention, too. Even after you’ve finally passed stool, you don’t want to go through another episode of feeling “stuck.” Simple changes to your diet may be enough to keep things flowing smoothly.
Lower-Left Abdominal Pain: What Could it Mean?

Lower-Left Abdominal Pain: What Could it Mean?

You’ve heard all your life that lower right abdominal pain could be a sign of appendicitis or a ruptured appendix that requires emergency medical care. But what if you experience pain in the left lower quadrant instead? What does that mean?

Is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction a Normal Part of Aging?

Our culture doesn’t have great expectations for aging. Once you hit a certain age, it’s all “downhill” from there. Does that mean you should expect your pelvic floor to fall, too? And worse, is some form of diapers inevitable?