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.