The Effect of Biofeedback Training on Patients With Functional Constipation

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Abstract

The aim of this prospective quasi-experimental study was to explore the influence of biofeedback training on patients with functional constipation (FC). Changes in clinical symptoms, psychological status, quality of life, and autonomic nervous function in 21 FC patients before and after biofeedback training were investigated. The psychological status and quality of life were evaluated with the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), and a Chinese version of the MOS 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey. Autonomic nervous function was assessed on the basis of heart rate variability recorded with a HANS-1000 autonomic nervous biofeedback apparatus. After a complete course of training (10 sessions), clinical symptoms were greatly improved (p < .01), and the SAS and SDS scores were markedly decreased. There was a significant difference in the SAS and SDS scores before and after biofeedback (p < .01). The scores of general health perceptions, physical functioning, emotional role functioning, bodily pain, and vitality were increased significantly (p < .05), especially the scores of general health perceptions and emotional role functioning (p < .01), which indicated that quality of life in FC patients was significantly improved. No marked improvement of autonomic nervous function was found. Although a slight improvement in autonomic nervous activity was found, there was no significant statistical findings (p > .05). We conclude that biofeedback training can improve clinical symptoms, psychological status, and quality of life in FC patients, but further research is needed to determine whether biofeedback training can improve the autonomic nervous function in FC patients.

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