Send to

Choose Destination
Neuromodulation. 2016 Jul;19(5):515-21. doi: 10.1111/ner.12451. Epub 2016 Jun 13.

Home Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation Therapy to Treat Children With Anorectal Retention: A Pilot Study.

Author information

Gut Motility Laboratory, Douglas Stephens Surgical Research Group, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
Division of Paediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Service De Chirurgie Pediatrique, Departement Medico-Chirurgical De Pediatrie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Switzerland.
Department of Urology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.



As transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TES) increased defecation in children and adults with Slow-Transit Constipation (STC), we performed a pilot study to test if TES can improve symptoms (defecation and soiling) in children with chronic constipation without STC and transit delay in the anorectum.


Children with treatment-resistant constipation presenting to a tertiary hospital had gastrointestinal nuclear transit study (NTS) showing normal proximal colonic transit and anorectal holdup of tracer. TES was administered at home (1 hour/day for 3 months) using a battery-powered interferential stimulator, with four adhesive electrodes (4 × 4 cm) connected so currents cross within the lower abdomen at the level of S2-S4. Stimulation was added to existing laxatives. Daily continence diary, and quality-of-life questionnaires (PedsQL4.0) were compared before and after TES.


Ten children (4 females: 5-10 years, mean 8 years) had holdup in the anorectum by NTS. Nine had <3 bowel motions (BM)/week. After three months TES, defecation frequency increased in 9/10 (mean 0.9-4.1 BM/week, p = 0.004), with 6/9 improved to ≥3 BM/week. Soiling reduced in 9/10 from 5.9 to 1.9 days/week with soiling, p = 0.004. Ten were on laxatives, and nine reduced/stopped laxative use. Quality-of-life improved to within the normal range.


TES improved symptoms of constipation in >50% of children with treatment-resistant constipation with isolated holdup in the anorectum. Further studies (RCTs) are warranted in these children.


chronic constipation; interferential current; neuromodulation; paediatric

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center