An IBS pacemaker?


When your heart acts up, sometimes implanting a device that delivers occasional electrical shocks to it gets it to “straighten up and fly right.”  More recently they’ve been putting them in people’s brains for things like epilepsy.  What about what we used to call “spastic colon”?

Turns out they’re working on it (PDF)!  Muscles do what they do in response to electrical impulses from the nervous system.  Some researchers believe that in Irritable Bowel Syndrome, haywire impulses cause the muscles of the colon to act up, messing with how quickly or smoothly your fecal matter moves through, bringing on constipation and/or diarrhea, and the other symptoms.  They also believe they’ve helped IBS patients to manually administer helpful shocks to the end of their colons – the sigmoid colon – that restored normal function!

Since this report was published a few years ago, I’m surprised I haven’t come across it before now.  Maybe that means it didn’t pan out, or that it’s still in the pipeline, so to speak.  Contrary to what we’ve heard sometimes more recently, it can still take years for research to result in “approved” treatments … especially for IBS in the U.S., which isn’t taken as seriously here as in Canada or Europe. 😦