Dutch evidence statement for pelvic physical therapy in patients with anal incontinence

L.C.M. Berghmans*, J.A.M. Groot, I.C. van Heeswijk-Faase, E.M.J. Bols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Web of Science)


To promote agreement among and support the quality of pelvic physiotherapists' skills and clinical reasoning in The Netherlands, an Evidence Statement Anal Incontinence (AI) was developed based on the practice-driven problem definitions outlined. We present a summary of the current state of knowledge and formulate recommendations for a methodical assessment and treatment for patients with AI, and place the evidence in a broader perspective of current developments. Electronic literature searches were conducted in relevant databases with regard to prevalence, incidence, costs, etiological and prognostic factors, predictors of response to therapy, prevention, assessment, and treatment. The recommendations have been formulated on the basis of scientific evidence and where no evidence was available, recommendations were consensus-based. The evidence statement incorporates a practice statement with corresponding notes that clarify the recommendations, and accompanying flowcharts, describing the steps and recommendations with regard to the diagnostic and therapeutic process. The diagnostic process consists of history-taking and physical examination supported by measurement instruments. For each problem category for patients with AI, a certain treatment plan can be distinguished dependent on the presence of pelvic floor dysfunction, awareness of loss of stools, comorbidity, neurological problems, adequate anorectal sensation, and (in)voluntary control. Available evidence and expert opinion support the use of education, pelvic floor muscle training, biofeedback, and electrostimulation in selected patients. The evidence statement reflects the current state of knowledge for a methodical and systematic physical therapeutic assessment and treatment for patients with AI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-496
JournalInternational Urogynecology Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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