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Efficacy of electroacupuncture in the treatment of functional constipation: A randomized controlled pilot trial



To evaluate the efficacy and safety of electroacupuncture at Tianshu (ST25) for patients with functional constipation (FC).


Ninety-six patients with FC were randomized to receive deep needling on bilateral ST25 (group A, 48 cases) or shallow needling on bilateral ST25 (group B, 48 cases) with electroacupuncture once daily for 4 weeks. The proportion of patients with four or more complete spontaneous bowel movements (CSBMs) per week, and scores of constipation symptoms and satisfaction with treatment were compared between two groups. Safety was also assessed.


The proportion of patients with four or more CSBMs per week was 52.1% in group A, significantly higher than 25.0% in group B during the 4-week treatment (P<0.05). The constipation symptom score of patients were significantly improved in group A as compared with group B at week 2–4 (P<0.05). Patients in group A were more satisfied with their treatment compared with those in group B at week 1–4 (P<0.05). Five patients in group A felt significant pain and discomfort. No other adverse reaction was observed in both groups.


Using electroacupuncture at ST25 to treat patients with FC is effectively, and deep needling had more stable effect than shallow needling.

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Correspondence to Ning Li.

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Xue, Qm., Li, N., Liu, Zs. et al. Efficacy of electroacupuncture in the treatment of functional constipation: A randomized controlled pilot trial. Chin. J. Integr. Med. 21, 459–463 (2015).

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  • electroacupuncture
  • functional constipation
  • Tianshu
  • Chinese medicine
  • randomized controlled trial