Self-acupressure, a simple technique, can help relieve people suffering from constipation, new research shows.
"Patients can perform this simple intervention themselves to treat their own constipation and improve their quality of life. It can also help to limit health care costs and excessive medication use," said Ryan Abbott, the study's principal investigator and visiting assistant professor of medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
It involves the application of external pressure to the perineum - the area between the anus and genitals.
For the study, the team from UCLA's Center for East-West Medicine recruited 100 patients who met the established criteria for constipation.
Patients were encouraged to perform the exercises on their own for four weeks when they felt the urge to defecate.
Nearly 72 percent of participants said that perineal self-acupressure helped them have a bowel movement.
Nearly 54 percent claimed it helped avoid hemorrhoids or lessen the severity of existing hemorrhoids.
"All primary care and general internal physicians should consider this technique as a first line intervention together with conventional treatment," Abbott added.
The research was published online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.