Vibrating capsule shows promising results in treating chronic constipation


May 3, 2014
Health, Technology

Study points to alternative, non-pharmacological therapy

An oral capsule that vibrates as it moves through the digestive tract has shown notable promise as a non-pharmacological treatment for constipation, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week® (DDW). In the pilot study, the vibrating capsule was found to nearly double the weekly bowel movements of patients suffering from chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC) and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome (C-IBS).

“Despite the widespread use of medication to treat constipation, nearly 50 percent of patients are unsatisfied with the treatment either because of side effects, safety concerns about long-term use, or the fact that it simply doesn’t work,” said Yishai Ron, MD, lead researcher for the study and director of Neurogastroenterology and Motility at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center’s Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Twenty-six patients took the vibrating capsule twice per week and responded to a daily bowel movement and laxative use questionnaire. All patients initially underwent a two-week preliminary period without the use of laxatives. Patients reported an increase in spontaneous bowel movements from two to four times per week, as well as a decrease in constipation symptoms, including reduced difficulty in passing stools and incomplete evacuation. The study also found minimal side effects from the capsule use.

The capsule, which houses a small engine inside, is programmed to begin vibrating six to eight hours after swallowing. The vibrations (mechanical stimulations) cause contractions in the intestine, which help move stool through the digestive tract.

Chronic constipation is a highly prevalent disorder that affects approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population. Symptoms can be burdensome, leading to a reduction in patients’ quality of life.

“Sometimes, drug therapies bring more issues than relief for these patients,” Dr. Ron said. “The results of this study point to the potential for an alternative treatment that avoids the typical drug side effects, such as bloating and electrolyte imbalance, by imitating the body’s natural physiology.”

Dr. Ron said he and his team plan to initiate a controlled, double blind study to expand on these findings and further explore the capsule’s potential.



Vibrating capsule shows promising results in treating chronic constipation

18 Responses to Vibrating capsule shows promising results in treating chronic constipation

  1. u12110770 May 4, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

    I love the fact that other methods are used medicine and drugs.

    Take painkillers as an example. The first time your take a painkiller for a headache, one tablet is sufficient. After a prolonged intake of painkillers, one will need more than one tablet for the headache to go away.

    The body is designed to fight against diseases,helping it in natural ways is phenomenal!

  2. Jessica (u14007348) May 4, 2014 at 10:29 pm #

    I think this research is excellent! That is if there are no long term side effects. One concern that might be worth considering: will these tablets interfere with the patients natural bowel movement? For example, if a patient with slight constipation issues starts taking these capsules, will the patients body become reliant on a vibrating capsule to ‘help’ the food go through the digestive tract? If this is the case perhaps it would be best to keep these capsules exclusively for people suffering from severe cases of constipation. Another concern raised by others, that I happen to agree with, is whether this treatment will be affordable, especially over an extended period of time.

  3. Michaela u14115141 May 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    Alternative methods that are more natural, such as this innovative creation of this oral capsule that vibrates as it moves through the digestive tract and mimics the bowels own natural mechanism is by far more beneficial than pharmacological therapy. If the further studies prove to be successful then in my opinion this will be a far more suitable alternative to those patients who suffer from conditions such as chronic idiopathic constipation and Irritable bowel syndrome. With symptoms such as bloating, pain, abdominal discomfort and cramps that are difficult to correct by better diet alone and often don’t even respond well to the usual pharmacological therapy, this more natural treatment will be most welcoming. This treatment also uses no chemicals, which will therefore produce a lot less side effects. The capsule is composed of biocompatible materials to ensure the highest safety standards and will therefore, if the price is affordable, be a better, more effective, more natural alternative of treatment that I would definitely try before becoming addictive to the chemical pharmacological therapies that are currently available. While nothing beats trying to get your body to work on its own to maintain a good, healthy digestive pattern, there is more than 15% of the US population suffering from these uncomfortable digestive problems and therefore a need for a more natural approach to the problem is very exciting.

  4. Fabian Henley (14092370) May 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Another breakthrough for science! Although this capsule will help many patients suffering from chronic constipation, what are the side effects of this capsule? for instance, what were to happen if a malfunction was to occur?

  5. 12209385 May 4, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    This is an amazing article. One can clearly see that the problem of constipation has found a solution through this vibrating capsule that brings relief in constipation. Goodbye to feeling bloated, headachy, irritation and discomfort. Even though when some people do not recommend it because of their fear, it is still a break through in science. Who could have thought a vibrating capsule could ease constipation. Even when some people do not recommend the vibrating capsule, people would not have to use laxative medicine and other more expensive medical treatments and surgeries.

  6. Nqobile Sibiya u1400577 May 4, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    The use of a vibrating pill to cure gastrointestinal disorders such as chronic constipation seems to be a very interesting field of study. Research may just lighten the burden of the people that suffer from chronic constipation. Although this may seem to be a goo solution there are some things that need to be taken into account such as the effect that these vibrating pills will have on the other organs in the body.
    David Gilansky et al, conducted research on the effects of the pill to treat the gastrointestinal disorder in the elderly, who suffer most from constipation. Their research showed that the vibrating pill increased the bowel movements of the elderly by up to 211%. This is an amazing result produced by the use of these vibrating pills.
    The idea of the use of a vibrating pill to treat chronic constipation is further evidence of the relevance of technology to medicine. Although, the vibrating pill may see to solve the problem of constipation, further research has to be conducted to se what side effects these pills may cause and how they can be minimised.

  7. Manakana Kamogelo (u14027110) May 4, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    From the article I learn that medicinal drugs have high probability to be denied by the body of a patient. Most pharmacological treatments require long-term use and when denied by body system of patient can make matters worse. Nonpharmacological treatment, capsule, seem like a more positive option since it has minimal side effects. Treatment in exception of drugs is healthier and safe.

  8. Lebogang 14132941 May 4, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    This a great finding as it stops the use of harmful chemicals. The use of non pharmacological therapy is a safer option even if it might be expensive ,laxatives have side effect on patients, the vibrating capsule will vibrate as it moves through the digestive tract and in this was it wont have any side effect on patients. these vibrating capsule sounds like a great device and it will help many patients suffering from chronic idiopathic constipation and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome.

  9. 14095255 May 4, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    It is always good to find a different approach that treating a medical problem with drugs. This seems like a safer option for treating some thing like chronic constipation because laxatives often makes a persons own bowl muscles lazy and a person then has to relay on medication.

    Also one of the most simplest silutions to chronic constipation is actually just being more healthy. Eating better, like an height fiber diet and lots of water, exercising more often, loosing maybe weigh and even lowering stress level can sometimes be a healthier way to treat chronic constipation.

  10. u14017149 May 4, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    This in my eyes will be of big help to people suffering from chronic idiopathic constipation and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome . It is also a great finding because of the fact that it stops the use of harmful chemicals . It is nice to know that scientists are still actively working on new cures that has no negative effects on us . I just hope that this is not the end of their study as this may lead to bigger findings that will hopefully stop the use of chemical drugs all together .

  11. 14044782 Chanel May 4, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    This is a very interesting finding. It sounds like a great idea and I think it is a brilliant idea, but is it good for you? Almost all pharmaceutical drugs have side effects and it is your choice if you want to use the product or not. The same with the vibrating capsule. It does its job of helping people who suffer from constipation to be relieved of their suffering, but is it good for our bodies to have a capsule in it that is constantly vibrating? Is it not unnatural for something to constantly vibrate in your bowels? I believe this is a brilliant idea, but I think further testing of what the effects are on the body must be done.

  12. 14120918 May 4, 2014 at 4:46 am #

    This sounds like a great device that will be a great asset to treating pasients suffering from chronic idiopathic constipation and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome.It would be great to see them make a device that can cure this completely without having to take the capsules.It is a fantastic device seeing that it doesnt consist of anyharmful chemical drugs which can have a harmful or negative side effect on some pasients

  13. Iwan Sipsma (14067511) May 4, 2014 at 1:10 am #

    This new innovative way of relieving people from embarrassing constipation is excellent and if this capsule does not disrupt or damage the physiology of the human body then why not use this new mechanism. In my eyes it should be better than to use harmful chemicals that can do more damage than this vibrating capsule.

    But the questions arises how long is this capsule inside of your body before itself will be ejected, how much will one single capsule cost because if it is more expensive why should I use it? And how may negative side effects does this capsule hold for different ages?

    I think this is a great new innovative idea that may help thousands of people in the future, but it still needs more experimenting for now.

  14. 14100322 May 3, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    It is refreshing and encouraging to see new ideas being developed and tested in the medical industry. Constipation is one of those embarrassing situations that people just want to do away with without any complications, long-term or otherwise, as soon as possible. While the idea of a capsule vibrating away inside of me is quite unorthodox, it does seem to fulfil those requirements.

    If a vibrating capsule is able to help move faeces out of the body then could the idea be used in other medical ways? Would these vibrations help the removal of other blockages inside the human body? For example: if a capsule could be injected into the bloodstream of a person suffering from high cholesterol could the vibrations be strong enough to dislodge some of this cholesterol and thus reduce the high amounts? If so the use of drugs in this regard could also be reduced which will eliminate the side effects caused by the medication.

    Of course this raises questions such as how long the device could be left safely inside the bloodstream, what would happen if it passes through the heart or the brain and how long it would remain functional.”

  15. Aron Rana May 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    This is an fascinating method to treat chronic constipation. All treatment plans should focus on reducing side effects in order to increase efficacy from a biological and psychological point of view, which is what the vibrating capsule does. One important question arises. Is the capsule implanted in the digestive tract or ingested and then passed out through the stool? If the second option is true, how often would one need to consume the capsules in order to have the desired effect? Secondly, if the second option is true, the use of this device might have negative financial implications due to somewhat repetitive use.

  16. u14054516 May 3, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    This sounds like an excellent cure for chronic constipation. But it might be more expensive than pharmacological treatment. Many treatments have side-effects or do not work. If this capsule can help people have regular bowl movements without side-effects it will improve many peoples lives. I just think it would be to costly, for many people, escpecially in the developing stageof the capsule..

  17. 14008093 May 3, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    This sounds to me like a fantastic device for people suffering from chronic idiopathic constipation and constipation predominant irritable bowel syndrome. It leads me to wonder if they’ll ever develop the principle of using the vibrations to induce the natural peristaltic activity in the intestine further as possibly even a permanent device (like a pacemaker for the gut) that there might be no need to take a tablet everyday. It is also great that it isn’t a medicinal/chemical drug, so apart from having no side effects, it also doesn’t involve adding foreign and potentially harmful chemicals into ones body everyday. It is wonderful that something has been developed to make the lives of these patients easier, and such that they don’t need to constantly be worrying about their laxatives and other medications.

  18. Zen Cleanse May 3, 2014 at 6:21 am #

    the study referred to that alone ( I refuse to count until a diagnosed co -morbid person, but the independent mental illness) if psychosis I read long ago , if I remember correctly the patient was also a large consumer of alcohol, which is known to cause dementia as a condition after years of abuse i have more but can travel regents poor and oppressed of the world and spent time with homeless are the uk i can state an observation that the poor and addicts tend to use what is available menthol opium I once saw heroin consumption fedaled water from a public bathroom abanded (boiled in a spoon first ) without any doubt be my point of case study data from the slums , as it is impossible to ensure that ‘ insert investigational drug ” is the only factor 2ndly if any body really looks right history or rough ( hard drugs like alcohol meth heroin, cocaine did not say it should be illegal ) drugs have never been banned for the case of truth in the point in the years immediately prior to cocaine

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