Electrical stimulation of the dorsal clitoral nerve in the treatment of idiopathic defecatory urgency: A pilot study

N. Qvist*, U. D. Hansen, P. Christensen, N. M.J. Rijkhoff, N. Klarskov, J. Duelund-Jakobsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose: To investigate the effect of dorsal clitoral nerve stimulation (DCNS) on bothersome urgency to defecate with or without fecal incontinence and the patient-reported discomfort or adverse effect with the method. Methods: For dorsal clitoral nerve stimulation, a battery powered, handheld stimulator was used, set to a pulse width of 200 µs and a frequency of 20 Hz. One electrode was placed at the preputium of the clitoris and acted as cathode while an anode electrode was placed on the belly. Prior to stimulation the patients were asked to complete a bowel habit diary throughout 14 consecutive days before and during stimulation. Results: Fourteen out of the 16 patients included completed the study. A decrease in the number of episodes (per day) with strong urgency declined in eight patients but increased in four cases during the stimulation period. An increase in episodes with moderate or mild urgency was observed in 11 and 6 cases, respectively, and a decrease in defecation without the feeling of urgency or passive incontinence decreased in two thirds of the patients. Two patients discontinued the study prematurely, on due to worsening in symptoms and one due to pelvic pain. Conclusion: Although the results may be promising, much still must be learned about the method including mode and duration of stimulation, better electrodes and more patient friendly equipment together with the development of better questionnaires to assess the patient burden of urgency.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTechniques in Coloproctology
Pages (from-to)459–463
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Dorsal clitoral nerve
  • Electric stimulation
  • Fecal urgency


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