This Vibrating Smart Pill Could Be the Future of Constipation Tratment

Vibrant is a smart ingestible capsule that vibrates inside your intestines to mechanically stimulate the colon and increase the frequency of bowel movements without the use of drugs.

No one really likes talking about it, but chronic constipation is a serious health issue of our time. Either because of age-related issues, questionable lifestyle choices, diet, or just bad genes, constipation affects a large number of adults in the developed world. Things like exercise and fiber-rich foods can help, but for a significant number of people, they simply aren’t viable options. Chronic idiopathic constipation sufferers struggle to find relief even with strong laxative therapies and eventually have to undergo uncomfortable medical procedures to clear their colon. Luckily, they now have a drug-free alternative in the form of a vibrating capsule.

Photo: Vibrant Gastro

Vibrant, a first-of-its-kind therapy made by medical equipment manufacturer Vibrant Gastro, is a vibrating capsule meant to be swallowed for five nights per week, right before bedtime. These smart pills must be activated before use with a pod that comes in the package and then swallowed immediately. They are pre-programmed to vibrate for two hours. Then they turn off automatically for another six hours, and then start up again for another couple of hours.

“The pills stimulate specialized nerve cells in the gut called mechanosensory cells,” Ben Feldman, chief marketing officer at Vibrant Gastro, told “These help trigger peristalsis, the undulating muscle contractions that help squeeze food through the gut. The pre-programmed timing of the mechanical stimulation is thought to improve colonic motility by leveraging the body’s biological clock.”

Photo: Vibrant Gastro

Vibrant capsules vibrate very gently as they pass through the user’s intestines and are eventually eliminated through bowel movements. A small minority of participants in a phase three medical trial reported that they could feel the pills vibrating, but none of them described the sensation as uncomfortable.

The pills, which are made out of the same medical-grade material as camera pills used by gastroenterologists, are a treatment for chronic idiopathic constipation, not a cure. In the small medical trial, about 40% of patients who took the vibrating pill had an additional bowel movement compared to 23% of people who were in the control group. And around 23% of the people who used Vibrant had two additional bowel movements compared to just about 12% of people in the control group.


Vibrant vibrating pills have been approved by the FDA for use by adults with chronic constipation who don’t get relief from laxative therapies after a month of use. At around $89 for a month of use, it is currently more expensive than traditional constipation relief therapies, but Vibrant Gastro is hoping to make it more affordable by working with insurance companies to obtain coverage in commercial plans.