Psychological disorders in patients with evacuation disorders and constipation in a tertiary practice

Vandana Nehra, Barbara K. Bruce, Doris M. Rath-Harvey, John H. Pemberton, Michael Camilleri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We aimed to evaluate the prevalence of psychological impairment in patients with rectal evacuation disorders and the influence of psychological disorder on the early outcome of behavioral treatment. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients with rectal evacuation disorders referred for biofeedback retraining at a tertiary referral center. The psychological disorder was classified using the DSM IV criteria. Outcome of biofeedback treatment of evacuation at 2 wk was based on symptoms or on the ability to spontaneously expel a balloon placed in the rectum. Improvements in the groups without versus with a psychological disorder or an eating disorder were compared by Fisher's exact test. RESULTS: In the 60 patients (55 women; 5 men; mean age, 38 yr), psychological disorders were identified in 39 (65%); also noted were eating disorder (n = 5), rumination syndrome (n = 3), pain disorder (n = 6), anxiety-depression (n = 10), a combination of depression and pain disorder (n = 3), and a combination of eating disorder with anxiety-depression and pain disorder (n = 12). There was an association between psychological status and outcome at 2 wk of behavioral treatment for evacuation disorder (p = 0.03). The coexistence of eating disorder and psychological disorder resulted in an unfavorable outcome (p = 0.02), compared with those without psychological disorder. CONCLUSION: Psychological impairment was identified in 65% of the patients with evacuation disorder and constipation in a tertiary care practice, and has a significant negative impact on the outcome of behavioral treatment. These data reinforce the importance of a multidisciplinary approach in the management of these patients. (C) 2000 by Am. Coll. of Gastroenterology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1755-1758
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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