At-home spinal transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) for patients with severe gastrointestinal dysmotility (constipation, fecal incontinence and bloating)

Patients with chronic gastrointestinal dysmotility with or without significant neurological impairment may benefit from electrical stimulation of the spinal nerves to trigger the normalization of visceral reflexes mediated by the autonomic nervous system and enteric nervous system. The patients are monitored in Dr. Jihong Chen’s colon motility clinic at McMaster University Medical Center.

Study figure

What is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)?

TENS has been used for skeletal muscular pain for decades. Based on the neuroanatomy of human spinal innervation to the gut, stimulating the peripheral nerves will optimize internal organs’ function through the autonomic nervous system and enteric nervous system. Sacral TENS treatment, is a non-invasive and self-managed neuromodulation, targeting on the sacral neuronal centers of defecation and continence inside the spinal cord, which helps to normalize the intrinsic defecation and continence reflexes.

This study was approved by the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board (#13795.



Eligibility Criteria:
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  • Adults aged 18 - 95
  • Chronic severe refractory gastrointestinal dysmotility --- constipation, fecal incontinence
  • Without contraindications for TENS treatment
What the study involves
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Patients will be trained to apply TENS at home. They will apply TENS to their lower back for up to 4 months, every day for 30 min.

Study Duration:
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Daily up to 4 months

Compensation:
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TENS equipment will be provided if needed

Contact us to know further information about the study:
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Research Principal investigator: Dr. Jihong Chen MD PhD. chen338@mcmaster.ca

Research Coordinator: Lijun Liu, PhD Candidate liul25@mcmaster.ca

Sponsor Funding/Funding Disclosures:
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This study is supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)

Society for the Study of Celiac Disease logo
Nestlé Research logo
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation logo
Research Team:
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Dr. Jihong Chen, Dr. Ms Lijun Liu, Ms Ashley Barbier, Mr. Amer Hussain, Mr. Khawar Ali. Jan D. Huizinga,




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