Bowel Backup: Acupressure Helps Keep Things Moving

Bowel Backup: Acupressure Helps Keep Things Moving

Need a little help getting things moving? Constipation can be a real pain in the you-know-what, but types of self-treatment could help get things moving, researchers suggest.

A blend of both Eastern and Western Medicine, such as acupressure, could help those suffering from constipation, according to new research from the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Acupressure was found to help with bowel movements in 72 percent of participants taking part in a randomized clinical trial.  The technique used was perineal self-acupressure, which involves applying external pressure to the perineum, which is the area between the anus and genitals.

The participants were encouraged to use the technique for four weeks and were reported as having used it three to four times a week on average. While 72 percent said acupressure helped them break up, soften or pass stools, 54 percent claimed it helped avoid hemorrhoids and 82 percent said they would continue using the technique.

Perineal self-acupressure likely carries a lower risk for side effects and complications than commonly used medications such as stool softeners, fiber supplements, stimulants, laxatives and lubricants, according to the researchers, who added that the self-treatment could lead to new and different ways of treating the condition.

Chronic constipation is infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer. Constipation is generally described as having fewer than three bowel movements a week. Though occasional constipation is very common, some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks. Chronic constipation may also cause excessive straining to have a bowel movement and other signs and symptoms.



Source: University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences
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