Nonrelaxing Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Is an Underestimated Complication of Ileal Pouch–Anal Anastomosis

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Background & Aims

Nonrelaxing pelvic floor dysfunction (N-RPFD), or dyssynergic defecation, is the paradoxical contraction and/or impaired relaxation of pelvic floor and anal muscles during defecation. Few studies have evaluated this disorder in patients with an ileal pouch–anal anastomosis (IPAA). We investigated the frequency of N-RPFD in patients with and without chronic pouchitis following IPAA and the effectiveness of biofeedback therapy within this population.


We conducted a retrospective study of all patients with an IPAA who underwent anorectal manometry between January 2000 and March 2015 (n = 111). N-RPFD was diagnosed in patients with symptoms consistent with a pouch evacuation disorder and 1 or more of the following abnormal tests: anorectal manometry, balloon expulsion test, barium or magnetic resonance defecography, or external anal sphincter electromyography. Patients who completed biofeedback therapy were identified and assessed to determine symptomatic response.


Of the 111 patients evaluated, 83 (74.8%) met criteria for N-RPFD. A significantly higher proportion of patients with chronic pouchitis were diagnosed with N-RPFD than patients without chronic pouchitis (83.3% vs 62.2%, respectively; P = .012). Most patients diagnosed with N-RPFD had abnormal results from the balloon expulsion test (78.3%); 53.0% of patients diagnosed with N-RPFD had abnormal findings from external anal sphincter electromyography, 25.3% had abnormal defecography findings, and 20.5% had abnormal findings from anorectal manometry. Twenty-two patients completed biofeedback therapy: 15 patients (68.2%) had mild–moderate improvement and 5 patients (22.7%) had significant improvement of symptoms.


N-RPFD occurs in almost 75% of patients with an IPAA, especially in patients with chronic pouchitis. Biofeedback seems to be an effective therapy for patients with an IPAA and N-RPFD, but further studies are needed for validation.

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