AIMS: To evaluate biofeedback training in children with encopresis and the effect on psychosocial function. DESIGN: Prospective controlled randomised study. PATIENT INTERVENTIONS: A multimodal treatment of six weeks. Children were randomised into two groups. Each group received dietary and toilet advice, enemas, oral laxatives, and anorectal manometry. One group also received five biofeedback training sessions. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Successful treatment was defined as less than two episodes of encopresis, regular bowel movements, and no laxatives. Psychosocial function after treatment was assessed using the Child Behaviour Checklist. RESULTS: Children given laxatives and biofeedback training had higher success rates than those who received laxatives alone (39% v 19%) at the end of the intervention period. At 12 and 18 months, however, approximately 50% of children in each group were successfully treated. Abnormal behaviour scores were initially observed in 35% of children. Most children had improved behaviour scores six months after treatment. Children with an initial abnormal behaviour score who were successfully treated had a significant improvement in their behavioural profiles. CONCLUSIONS: Biofeedback training had no additional effect on the success rate or behaviour scores. Psychosocial problems are present in a subgroup of children with encopresis. The relation between successful treatment and improvement in behavioural function supports the idea that encopresis has an aetiological role in the occurrence and maintenance of behavioural problems in children with encopresis.
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