Dysfunctional Elimination Syndrome

Treating Constipation in Kids with Targeted Biofeedback Therapy

At the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, our experts use biofeedback therapy to help children with dysfunctional elimination syndrome and constipation.

Biofeedback electronically monitors a normal body function that is usually automatic, with the goal of training the patient to be able to voluntarily control his or her own body part function. Biofeedback is used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, high blood pressure, asthma, headache, pain, urinary difficulties and constipation.

Biofeedback and Constipation

When stool is passed, several muscle in the pelvic area must work together. Biofeedback for constipation targets these pelvic floor muscles. Sometimes kids and adults have difficulty passing stool because they have “forgotten” how to use their pelvic floor muscles effectively. This is sometimes called uncoordinated defecation. By gaining more control over these muscles, an individual can improve bowel control. We know that combination therapy of behavioral modification, medication and biofeedback can be a more effective approach to treating constipation.

What to Expect

During a visit for biofeedback, children will have six small sensors placed on them. All sensors are external. Two are placed on the hips, and two sensors will be placed on the buttocks near the anal opening. These sensors are stickers and the size of a postage stamp. Placing the sensors is not painful. Once the sensors are placed, the child may put his or her underwear and clothes back on. The child will remain sitting or standing for the rest of the visit.

The sensors are attached to a computer with a large monitor for the child and family to watch. The child’s ability to relax and contract the pelvic floor and abdominal muscle will be assessed. The child will then engage in a series of games where they will practice relaxing and controlling their muscles.

The actual practice sessions last about 20 to 25 minutes. The entire visit may take 30 to 40 minutes depending on the concerns of the child, parent or provider. Home going practice sheets and instructions will be given with the expectation the child will practice at home in between sessions. Typically, children come back every two to four weeks for a total of five to six sessions.

Biofeedback Clinic Location

UH University Suburban Health Center

1611 South Green Road
South Euclid, OH 44121
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