Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program in Rochester, Minnesota Overview

A woman performs a stretching exercise near a track.

Mayo Clinic's Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program primarily assists people with chronic constipation caused by tension or incoordination of the pelvic floor muscles, also called pelvic floor dysfunction. If your pelvic floor muscles don't work together in a coordinated way, you may have difficulty passing bowel movement.

Our two-week program is based at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota. It focuses on retraining the pelvic floor muscles to restore a person's control over emptying the bowel and bladder.

What you can expect from our Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program

The program offers up to 20 personal, one-on-one sessions with highly trained occupational and physical therapists to guide you through Mayo Clinic's preferred approach to treat pelvic floor dysfunction. Our physical therapists are specifically trained in bowel and bladder anatomy, muscle behavior, and therapy modalities to help you. You will learn a lot during your two-week program — 10 days of appointments, Monday through Friday — including bowel function basics, stress management, and relaxation techniques.

  • Relax specific muscles. Some pelvic floor muscles must relax during a bowel movement. To help you learn to relax these muscles, your therapist will instruct you in multiple therapy treatments to find what works best for you. These may include breathing techniques, mindfulness sessions, stretches, manual therapy and biofeedback.
    • Biofeedback uses a smooth electronic sensor placed in your rectal opening. Interpreting feedback helps you identify the exact muscles that you need to relax.
    • You can measure how much the muscle is contracting by watching your biofeedback results on a screen.
  • Pelvic floor anatomy. Working with your therapist, you will gain a basic understanding of pelvic floor anatomy, typical bowel function and causes of constipation. That understanding helps you identify how to promote healthy bowel function, including what to eat, how to sit on the toilet, and breathing techniques for muscle relaxation.
  • Healthy habits. You will learn to identify common stress-related symptoms in your life. Your team will also share tools for reducing this stress response through a healthier lifestyle and daily life habits.
  • Coordinate specific muscles. The next step in training may involve learning how to move your muscles properly to pass stool. This may include practicing correct coordination to pass a small water-filled balloon.
  • Home rehabilitation program. As you develop new muscle memory, you will need to continue practicing your new skills.
A person presses their abdominal area.

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common problem. Most people do well with the retraining program and experience improved pelvic floor muscle control and coordination.

Is our program right for you?

A man smiles holding a water bottle in a therapy session.

To participate in the Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program, you must be referred by a physician at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota, such as a gastroenterologist or a women's health specialist. You may require additional tests and imaging to confirm the diagnosis of pelvic floor dysfunction before meeting with the rehabilitation team to develop a plan for you. Your specific evacuation disorder plan may include additional Mayo Clinic team members in areas such as nutrition, psychology or pain medicine.

Our program can help with issues such as:

  • Constipation.
  • Straining.
  • Pelvic floor straining.
  • Pelvic floor muscle tension.
  • Lifestyle changes related to constipation.

For more information about Mayo Clinic's Bowel Evacuation Disorders Program, call 507-284-2111.

Additional information for participants

Insurance

After you complete the initial set of eligibility evaluations, a Mayo Clinic Patient Financial Services representative will contact your insurance carrier. Upon receiving insurance approval, you will be contacted to schedule an admission date. Patient Financial Services will also contact you to discuss alternative options if full approval for the program cannot be obtained.

If you have questions about your benefits or the status of your approval, please contact the phone number on your insurance card. If you need further assistance, a Patient Financial Services representative is available to speak with you about insurance issues at 507-266-9753.

Location and Patient Visitor Guide

Patient and visitor parking ramps are available on the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, Minnesota, within walking distance of the Mayo Building, where your appointments take place. The daily charge is modest, and you can purchase weekly passes from the parking attendant at a discount. Many hotels and motels provide shuttle bus service to Mayo Clinic.

Lodging

Participants make their own arrangements for lodging. Several options are listed on the Hotels and Lodging page.

Mayo Clinic Travel Services also can assist with travel planning.

Mayo Clinic Concierge Services also is available to assist with general questions about accommodations, but arrangements are the responsibility of the patient.

Meals

Meals are not provided as part of the program. Patients are responsible for bringing or purchasing lunch. The program schedule allows for at least an hour free for lunch each day. Mayo Clinic's downtown campus in Rochester, Minnesota, features a number of different cafeterias and restaurants available within walking distance.

May 11, 2023