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AIM: Traditionally, pelvic floor retraining for faecal incontinence or obstructed defaecation has been delivered to patients through individual sessions with a specialist pelvic floor nurse, a resource-intensive practice. This study aimed to assess whether a similar outcome can be achieved by delivering retraining to patients in small groups, allowing considerable savings in the use of resources. METHOD: Data were collected prospectively in a pelvic floor database. Patients received pelvic floor retraining either individually or in a small group setting and completed baseline and follow-up questionnaires. Two hundred and fifteen patients were treated, 119 individually and 96 in a small group setting. Scores before and after treatment for the two settings were compared for the Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index, the Fecal Incontinence Severity Index and the Patient Assessment of Constipation Symptoms. Additionally patients receiving group treatment completed a short questionnaire on their experience. RESULTS: The median change in Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index score was 5 (range -62 to 73) for individual treatment and 4 (range -41 to 47) for group treatment, both showing statistically significant improvement. However, there was no significant difference between the settings. Similar results were obtained with the Fecal Incontinence Severity Index and Patient Assessment of Constipation Symptoms scores for the faecal incontinence and obstructed defaecation subgroups respectively. CONCLUSION: The majority of patients experienced symptomatic improvement following pelvic floor retraining and there was no significant difference in the resulting improvement according to treatment setting. As treatment costs are considerably less in a group setting, group pelvic floor retraining is more cost-effective than individual treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


Colorectal Dis

Publication Date





515 - 521


Obstructed defaecation, faecal incontinence, group treatment, pelvic floor retraining, Adult, Aged, Constipation, Defecation, Exercise Therapy, Fecal Incontinence, Female, Health Care Rationing, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Pelvic Floor, Pelvic Floor Disorders, Prospective Studies, Quality of Life, Severity of Illness Index, Surveys and Questionnaires, Treatment Outcome