Irritable bowel syndrome and stomach pain issues have become incredibly common in today’s fast-paced society. Stress and irregular diet often lead to indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, and pain in the gut/abdomen region. The traditions of Chinese medicine andacupuncture teach us how to balance lifestyle and diet in order to avoid such issues but they also provide us with effective treatments for them.
Acupuncture has been shown to be an excellent remedy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) because it helps:
1- relax the nerves and pacify “nervous stomach” which often leads toabdominal pain
2- regulate peristalsis which is the healthy activity of the smooth muscles of the gut
3- regulate blood sugar and insulin cycles
4- move the bowel and promote healthy defecation for constipation
5- control spastic activity which leads to diarrhea and loose stools
It is important to understand that healing the gut is a process and it requires some basic lifestyle modifications to really work effectively. Many people are suffering from hidden food allergies which are what are causing inflammatory cascades in the gut. This often leads to a condition called “Leaky Gut Syndrome” wherein bigger molecules seep through the gut lining which has been compromised over the years. These people often complain of bloating, gas, fatigue, abdominal pain, and can even suffer from signs of malnutrition. There is some good research now which points to a compromise in the healthy flora (or good bacteria) in the gut as being a major contributing factor in this as well.
Here is how I typically treat patients with these syndromes:
1- a full lifestyle and medical history interview to determine the scope and causality of the problem
2- food allergy testing and other relevant diagnostic tests to properly establish the diagnosis
3- Herbal remedies often accompanied by probiotics and diet modification
4- Acupuncture! This really helps relieve the symptoms as well as treat the root cause of the problem
5- Re-assessment and review for further treatment
In mild cases, people’s lives begin to really change within a couple of weeks. I’ve also had very severe cases where it has taken over a year to bring them back online. That all depends on the patient’s history but one thing is for sure- the sooner you start treating IBS, the better off you are.