Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program

Mayo Clinic's Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program primarily assists people with chronic constipation caused by tension or incoordination of the pelvic floor muscles (pelvic floor dysfunction).

Based at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota, the two-week program focuses on retraining the pelvic floor muscles, which control the outlets of the bowel and bladder. If your pelvic floor muscles don't work together properly, you may have difficulty passing a bowel movement.

During the program, participants learn to:

  • Relax specific muscles. Some of the pelvic floor muscles need to be relaxed during a bowel movement. To help you learn to relax these muscles, a smooth biofeedback sensor is placed in your rectal opening. This helps you identify the exact muscles that need to be relaxed. You can measure your success by watching the biofeedback results on a screen.
  • Practice with a balloon. The next step in the training involves inserting a narrow balloon into your rectum and then partially filling it with water. You then learn to relax the muscles to let go of the balloon without pushing.
  • Continue with a home program. As you develop new muscle memory, you need to continue practicing with the exercises and equipment at home.

To participate in the Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program, you must be referred by a physician at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota. You may require additional tests to confirm the diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common problem and nothing to be embarrassed about. Most people do well with the retraining program and experience an improvement in the control and coordination of their pelvic floor muscles.

For more information about Mayo Clinic's Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program, call 507-538-3836.