A new “smart pill” could offer hope to thousands of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by delivering accurate information about the gut.
The capsule is swallowed and travels through the system analysing details such as how quickly food moves along the colon, acidity, pressure and temperature.
This is relayed to a monitor worn on the patient’s waist for several days as they go about their daily activities.
Experts hope the pill will lead to much more accurate treatment for people with IBS and other long-term unexplained but frequently painful digestive problems.
Doctors at the private Princess Grace Hospital in central London have become the first in Europe to use the SmartPill. While other devices can take images of a patient’s gut, this is the first to provide information.
Gastro-physiologist Dr Anthony Hobson said the clinic sees patients who have not always experienced an improvement after years of seeing doctors.
“There is such a big proportion of the population who are suffering in this way but now we have a proven and excellent procedure that can give us important information from the whole gut very quickly and conveniently,” he said. “This is a real breakthrough and gives many people real hope of a better quality of life by obtaining a more definitive diagnosis.”