New Therapy can ease irritable bowels

July 19th, 2011 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 19 (IANS) There is new hope for people suffering from irritable bowels, marked by abdominal cramping or pain, bloating and gas, and altered bowel habits that afflict millions worldwide.

A new treatment, called InterStim therapy, is a minimally invasive procedure which uses electrical impulses to stimulate the sacral nerve and improve muscle function.

Sacral nerve emerges from the sacrum, a triangular bone forming the posterior section of the pelvis. Its damage can result in a lack of bladder or bowel control.

InterStim therapy has been shown to reduce or eliminate irritable bowels in 80 percent of patients, according to recent studies.

“Bowel control problems can have a significant, detrimental effect on a person’s emotional well-being,” said Anne-Marie Boller, colon rectal surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“Patients often struggle with everyday activities and withdraw from social interactions due to embarrassment or fear, causing them to suffer in silence,” said Boller, according to a Northwestern Memorial statement.

“This treatment is a tremendous advancement that has the potential to improve patients’ bowel control and their quality of life,” Boller said.

The treatment involves three steps: test stimulation, surgical implant and post-implant follow up. During the first phase, a thin wire is placed to stimulate the sacral nerve.

This allows doctors to determine if the patient is likely to benefit from the therapy before moving forward with the full procedure. If the trial phase is successful, a long-term neurostimulator device, similar to a pacemaker, is then implanted in the buttock.

–Indo-Asian News service

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