TUESDAY, Sept. 13, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Acupuncture may provide some relief to patients with chronic severe functional constipation, according to research published online Sept. 13 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The study involved patients with chronic severe functional constipation. The researchers randomly assigned 1,075 patients to one of two groups. Half received electroacupuncture at traditional acupoints. The other half received sham treatments at nonacupoints. Acupuncturists at 15 Chinese hospitals administered the real and sham treatments, consisting of 28 half-hour sessions.
Over the eight-week treatment period, 31.3 percent of patients in the electroacupuncture group versus 12.1 percent of patients in the control group had three or more bowel movements in a week, on average. During the study’s 12-week follow-up period, 37.7 percent of electroacupuncture patients reported three or more bowel movements a week, on average, compared to 14.1 percent of sham therapy patients.
“In conclusion, we found that eight-week electroacupuncture treatment increased complete spontaneous bowel movements and was safe for the treatment of chronic severe functional constipation. The effect persisted for 12 weeks after treatment,” the authors write. “Electroacupuncture could provide an alternative to conventional medications for the management of chronic severe functional constipation. Additional study is warranted to evaluate a longer-term treatment and follow-up.”
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