April is IBS Awareness Month

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects 9%-23% of the worldwide population yet many people have not been diagnosed.

Here are some facts (from www.aboutibs.org ):

  • IBS is the most common disorder diagnosed by GI doctors
  • 2 out of 3 people with IBS are female
  • IBS causes abdominal pain and irregular bowels
  • Stress does not cause IBS but it can exacerbate the symptoms
  • Women with undiagnosed IBS are at an increased risk of unnecessary surgery such as hysterectomies.

Complementary Medicine & Self Care

Probiotics: help balance the bacteria in the intestines and can be purchased in any pharmacy. The best type: Bifidobacterium infantis 35624. Studies have shown this strain to be superior to placebo in relieving the main symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome (abdominal pain/discomfort, distension/bloating and difficult defecation).

Peppermint Oil: is used to relax the bowel muscles and has been found helpful in 40% of people with IBS when taken in capsules resistant to stomach acid.

Exercise: helps the bowels to stay moving, reduces the toll of stress on the body, and helps to lift the emotional toll that a chronic illness can have.

Acupuncture: Unfortunately the bulk of scientific research on acupuncture and IBS uses “sham acupuncture”- a highly criticized control.  But when comparing the “true acupuncture” group to a “true control” group who were on a wait list receiving no treatment, the acupuncture group improved significantly based upon the Global Improvement Scale (37% of the acupuncture group compared to 4% of the wait list group had improved symptoms, p-0.001). To read a full copy of this publication, 2009.NIH.IBS

IBS according to Chinese Medicine:

(Written by Lynn Jaffee on acufinder.com) “While other patterns may be present, IBS is almost always considered a disharmony between the liver and the spleen in traditional Chinese medicine. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of substances throughout the body. This flow can be upset by emotions or stress, causing stagnation of Qi (energy) or blood. Traditional Chinese medicine views the spleen as being associated with the function of digestion and transforming food into energy (Qi and blood). The spleen can be weakened by a number of factors, including overeating unhealthy foods, overwork, too much worry, fatigue, and lack of exercise. When the spleen is weak and the liver is not moving smoothly, the liver overacts on the spleen and can manifest as symptoms of IBS.

A liver/spleen disharmony is similar to the short-term loss of appetite or a bout of diarrhea that occurs during an occasional emotional upset. With IBS, however, the phenomenon occurs in slow motion; the emotional trauma or stress takes place over a long period of time, and the digestive symptoms of IBS can last for years.

Practitioners of acupuncture or traditional Chinese medicine may use a variety of modalities to correct a liver/spleen disharmony. They may use acupuncture, Chinese herbs, dietary therapy and lifestyle changes to facilitate healing of this condition.”

At Wildwood Acupuncture Center–we are a family owned medically based clinic who will work in collaboration with other treatments you are receiving to enhance your treatment results.

Call us today to schedule a consultation: 301-530-5308