Acupuncture & Chinese medicine for IBS (irritable bowels)

Definition

Irritable bowel is a condition that is closely associated with stress and anxiety. A person is diagnosed with irritable bowel when all other digestive conditions are eliminated. These conditions may include ulcerative colitis, bowel cancer, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Irritable bowel is purely a functional disorder of the large intestine. Thus, it involves NO ORGANIC lesions or structural abnormalities.

Red Light Signs & Symptoms

Pain that awakens / interfers with sleep
Diarrhoea that awakens / interferes with sleep
Hidden or visible blood in the stool
Associated weight loss
Fever
Abnormal physical examination of the bowel
If you experience any one of the above signs and symptoms, please visit a medical professional IMMEDIATELY !!!

Accompanying signs & symptoms

Key symptoms: alternating bowel habits of constipation or diarrhoea, abdominal bloating, belching, flatulence, abdominal cramping, abdominal pain and cramping relieved after defaecation, frequent and/or infrequent toileting

Accompanying symptoms include: anxiety, uneasiness, nervousness, agitation and impatience, excessive worrying

Possible Causes

History of stress and anxiety
An “easily stressed” personality
Excessive use of caffeine and spicy foods

Physiological Mechanisms

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is very closely related with emotional stress and anxiety. And statistics have shown that it appears more common among female than male possibly due to the hormone fluctuation of menstruation.

When a person is under emotional stress or becomes anxious, his/her body slowly tense up, his/her breathing becomes rapid and short, and other signs include fast speech, irritabilities and “shoulder guarding”. Accumulated tension in the body after a prolonged period of time may also alters the “normal” neural activities which regulates the movements and the rhythm of the intestine. As the result, it leads to hyperactivities of para-sympathetic nervous system, nervous system which controls the movement of the intestine. Thus, the patient experiences abdominal cramping and urgency to defaecate when he/she is under emotional stress or has been “worrying” excessively. Subsequently, it becomes a vicious cycle when the patient constantly “worry” about his/her IBS.

Treatment Modalities

Specialty Acupuncture approx. 10-12 sessions. 2 sessions per week for the first 3 weeks.

Mechanism of action of the herbs used

Chinese medicine and acupuncture treat the condition by doing the following:
Reduce building up of stress and anxiety in the body
Down- regulate the neural activities of the intestine
Reduce the muscle spasms of the intestine and relax the smooth muscle
Reducing physiological stress in the body
Reduce abdominal cramping, rumbling and promote “normal” digestive functions
Reduce anxiety and emotional related stress

Health Advice

Reducing the intake of caffeine and cigarette smoking
Eat a balance diet
Establishing a regular eating habit
Encouraging moderate, regular and outdoor exercises