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Transcutaneous Electrical Acupoint Stimulation for Chronic Constipation

November 5, 2019


The University of California, Los Angeles, is studying transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) for relieving chronic constipation. They rely on TMS through non-invasive alteration of nerve activity, or neuromodulation. This is an acupuncture-based form of self-care treatment. 


Study Information

Interested persons will undergo a phone screening. If selected, they will complete a bowel logbook at home for 2 weeks. They will report back to the office to complete a survey and have a picture taken of their tongue. Instructions for where to place the TEAS device will be given. It should be used at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week.


Inclusion Criteria

  • All sexes, ages 18 years or older
  • Fewer than three spontaneous bowel movements per week
  • Meet one of the following symptoms for at least 12 weeks in the preceding 12 months:
    • straining during more than 25% of time
    • lumpy or hard stools during more than 25% of time
    • feeling of incomplete evacuation during more than 25% of time
    • feeling of blockage in large intestine more than 25% of time 
    • manual movement to assist bowel movements more than 25% of time
    • loose stools are rare without the use of laxatives
  • able to understand and provide written consent
  • If over age 50, have undergone routine colon cancer screening (colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, colonography or fecal occult blood testing)
  • Must have normal serum chemistry and normal thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) within the past year
  • Must have normal feeling over the areas where the pads will be placed (lumbar region and lower extremities surrounding the knees anteriorly)


Exclusion Criteria

  • Pregnancy
  • Numbness around the genitals or groin
  • bladder or bowel dysfunction or incontinence, 
  • new sciatica type leg pain or new onset sexual dysfunction within the past year.
  • Any changes to constipation related medications in the past 1 month
  • Use of rescue medication (polyethylene glycol, bisacodyl, enema, etc) more than once per week
  • Pacemaker, implanted cardiac defibrillator or other implanted electrical device
  • 10% weight loss in past 6 months
  • Passing blood in stools since last medical evaluation



You may participate in this study at the University of California in Los Angeles, California, 90095. If you have any questions feel free to contact Andre Shubov, MD at 310-998-9118 or at 



This study is sponsored by the University of California, Los Angeles with Andrew Shubov, MD as the Principal Investigator.

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