Effect of perineal self-acupressure on constipation: a randomized controlled trial

J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Apr;30(4):434-9. doi: 10.1007/s11606-014-3084-6. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


Background: The efficacy of perineal self-acupressure in treating constipation is uncertain.

Objective: We aimed to evaluate whether perineal self-acupressure would improve patient reports of quality of life and bowel function at 4 weeks after training.

Design: A randomized, parallel group trial was conducted.

Setting: The study took place at the UCLA Department of Medicine.

Patients: One hundred adult patients who met Rome III criteria for functional constipation participated.

Intervention: The control group received information about standard constipation treatment options, while the treatment group received training in perineal self-acupressure plus standard treatment options.

Measurements: Primary outcome was the Patient Assessment of Constipation Quality of Life (PAC-QOL). Secondary outcomes included patient assessments of bowel function (as measured by a modified Bowel Function Index (BFI)), and health and well-being (as measured by the SF-12v2).

Results: The mean PAC-QOL was improved by 0.76 in the treatment group and by 0.17 in the control group (treatment-effect difference, 0.59 [95 % CI, 0.37 to 0.81]; p < 0.01). The mean modified BFI was improved by 18.1 in the treatment group and by 4.2 in the control group (treatment-effect difference, 13.8 [95 % CI, 5.1 to 22.5]; p < 0.01). The mean SF-12v2 Physical Component Score was improved by 2.69 in the treatment group and reduced by 0.36 in the control group (treatment-effect difference, 3.05, [95 % CI, 0.85 to 5.25]; p < 0.01); and the mean SF-12v2 Mental Component Score was improved by 3.12 in the treatment group and improved by 0.30 in the control group (treatment-effect difference, 2.82, [95 % CI, -0.10 to 5.74]; p < 0.07).

Limitation: The trial was not blinded.

Conclusion: Among patients with constipation, perineal self-acupressure improves self-reported assessments of quality of life, bowel function, and health and well-being relative to providing standard constipation treatment options alone.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure / methods*
  • Aged
  • Constipation / diagnosis
  • Constipation / psychology
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perineum* / physiology
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Self Care / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome