ST. LOUIS – SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital is the first and only hospital in our area offering IB Stimulation for pediatric IBS patients.
Dr. Dhiren Patel, SLUCare Gastroenterologist and Director of the Pediatric GI Motility Center, says irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to 35% of children under the age of 18. IBS often causes severe abdominal pain often lasting hours at a time and can include headaches.
This pain can cause sporadic, sharp, dull or cramping pain in the abdomen and can impact the child’s ability to participate in everyday activities. This effect on their quality of life can seem frustrating and uncertain. If the child’s pain is not the result of blockage, it is considered functional abdominal pain. Functional abdominal pain is often accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, or both and can be related to IBS.
Dr. Patel says the cause of IBS is not precisely known, however, it is the abnormal processing between the brain and the gut. Dr. Patel says IB Stimulation, also known as IB Stim, is an innovative treatment approved for children between the ages of 11-18. Once the gastroenterologists at Cardinal Glennon evaluate the abdominal pain and rule out possible causes or other treatments such as changing diet and stress, or specific therapies for fatigue, anxiety or depression, the IB Stim can be offered.
The IB Stim is a non-surgical device that works by sending gentle electrical impulses into the cranial nerve bundles located inside the ear. This stimulation targets brain areas involved in processing pain and aids in the reduction of function abdominal pain associated with IBS.
The treatment requires the patient to wear the inner-ear device for four weeks, changing the device out once a week. Patients are refitted once a week and must wear the device 24-hours a day for 6 out of the 7 days a week until the next device is fitted.
He says the device is meant to control pain perception, and his patients have noted upwards of 70% improvement in their abdominal pain symptoms after the initial four weeks. The IB Stim is to keep patients in sustained remission from the abdominal pain and should pain return, the process can be repeated.
Dr. Patel says IB Stim is only approved for children between the ages of 11-18, not yet for adults or younger aged children. So far, the IB Stim has only been studied for use in treating GI issues, but Dr. Patel thinks there are more applications that could come down the road.
To find out more about Cardinal Glennon Pediatric Gastroenterology, click here.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7pm and FOX 2 News at 9pm.