Biofeedback Can Help Treat Incontinence and Pelvic Pain

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A recent article in the journal Biofeedback addresses how pelvic muscle weakness and dysfunction can affect the body's ability to maintain urinary and bowel control. This problem faced by millions is frequently related to trauma, child birth, injury, overall lifestyle, age, as well as other medical conditions.

Volume 44, Issue 2 (Summer 2016)

Pelvic muscle dysfunction has recently been linked to athletes who have suffered sport-related injuries as well as veterans fighting post-traumatic stress disorder.

Biofeedback – There is a common misconception that certain dysfunctions in the body are solely age related. The National Association for Continence has reported that among Americans of all ages, 25 million are affected by bladder or bowel incontinence. Although incontinence is typically most common after 65 years of age, research shows that it is not just the elderly that have issues with continence. As a result, more and more attention is being paid to the younger population suffering from what were traditionally thought of as ailments that only affected the elderly.

A recent article in the journal Biofeedback addresses how pelvic muscle weakness and dysfunction can affect the body’s ability to maintain urinary and bowel control. This problem faced by millions is frequently related to trauma, child birth, injury, overall lifestyle, age, as well as other medical conditions.

Biofeedback has a very positive success rate in assisting people in strengthening their pelvic muscles and combating these conditions. The treatment recommended by the article, “Biofeedback for Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction,” involves exercises to help strengthen the muscles in addition to surface electromyographic monitoring. This type of muscle biofeedback, also known as surface electromyography (SEMG), involves carefully placed electrodes that are used to monitor the activity of the pelvic muscles. Since having pelvic muscle dysfunction is classified as a medical condition, biofeedback therapists who are healthcare professionals and also BCIA (Biofeedback Certification International Alliance) certified in biofeedback are best suited to guide patients through the process in order to have the most successful outcome. Biofeedback practitioners certified in pelvic floor muscle biofeedback include many nurses, occupational and physical therapists, as well as mental health professionals.

Pelvic muscle dysfunction has recently been linked to athletes who have suffered sport-related injuries as well as veterans fighting post-traumatic stress disorder. Combined with the aging population’s increased activity levels, there is high demand for innovative non-drug treatments beyond those that simply mask the problem (e.g., adult diapers).

As more and more individuals encounter potentially life-altering problems like incontinence, biofeedback procedures like SEMG could soon emerge as one of the most effective long-term treatments. Individuals suffering from chronic pelvic pain should consult with a BCIA-certified pelvic floor biofeedback practitioner, to determine which treatment is best for them.

Full text of the article, “Biofeedback for Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction,” Biofeedback, Vol. 44, No. 2, 2016, is available at http://www.aapb-biofeedback.com/doi/full/10.5298/1081-5937-44.2.02

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About Biofeedback
Biofeedback is published four times per year and distributed by the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. AAPB’s mission is to advance the development, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge about applied psychophysiology and biofeedback to improve health and the quality of life through research, education, and practice. For more information about the Association, see http://www.aapb.org.

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Jacob Frese
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