Constipation May Be Improved by Self-Applied Acupressure
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, November 26, 2014 06:20 PM

Applying external pressure to the perineum in conjunction with standard constipation treatment can improve bowel function and quality of life for people suffering from the common digestive condition, a study has shown.  The self-acupressure technique improved constipation symptoms at 4 weeks in 72% of the patients randomly assigned to the treatment.  

The noninvasive, nonpharmacologic intervention carries a lower risk for adverse effects and complications than common medications, and it may help control the significant healthcare costs associated with the condition, the study authors write, noting that "U.S. hospital costs alone associated with constipation were estimated at over $4.25 billion in 2012."

Participants in the treatment group assessed the intervention positively. "Seventy two percent reported that the technique helped them to 'avoid or better manage the effects of constipation,' " the authors write. In addition, 82% of the patients in the treatment group said they would continue to use the technique, and 72% said they would recommend it to family and friends.

"This study suggests that clinicians should consider incorporating education in perineal self-acupressure as a first-line treatment for constipation, along with conventional interventions such as increased exercise and dietary fiber intake," the authors conclude. In addition to the treatment's low-risk profile and the potential to control treatment costs, "perineal self-acupressure may represent an effective alternative to conventional treatment options," particularly for individuals who do not respond favorably to existing treatment options.