There is a new non-drug alternative to chronic abdominal pain related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), IB-STIM. IB-STIM is a small, electrical nerve-stimulating device that patients wear behind their ear to reduce pain due to IBS. This device was recently approved by the FDA for patients aged 11 to 18.
Functional abdominal pain associated with IBS is believed to involve an irregular process in the brain-gut pathway. When patients wear the IB-STIM, low-frequency, painless electrical pulses are sent through nerve branches under the ear through the skin. These electrical pulses help control the pain areas in the brain-gut pathway.
Patients will wear the non-surgical disposable device behind the ear for 5 straight days before replacement. A new device is used each time for 5 days, for an average of three weeks. As the length of time, the device is worn increases, the pain relief continues to improve. Studies have shown few side effects during and after treatment and significant improvements in chronic pain due to IBS.