What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is also known as spastic colon or mucus colitis. It involves a group of symptoms that varies for each individual who is affected.

It is a motility disorder (involving abnormal movement) of the small and large intestines.

Symptoms of IBS:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Pain
  • Alternating episode of constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Flatulence/gas
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Symptoms are almost aggravated by stress
  • IBS can also be aggravated by eating fatty fried, greasy foods
  • Symptoms are relieved after a bowel movement
  • IBS are sometimes triggered by emotional upsets or stress

An estimated 1 in 5 Australian are affected by symptoms of IBS, with three times as many women as men being affected.

IBS according to Chinese Medicine

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, IBS is 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.

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

 What treatment is available?

 Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine are used as a variety of modalities to correct a liver/spleen disharmony also dietary therapy and lifestyle changes to assist with healing of this condition.

Lifestyle changes that may help alleviate symptoms include:

  • Adequate sleep is important for sufferers of IBS, because stress, which is the most common trigger for IBS, is aggravated by lack of sleep.
  • Getting adequate exercise, which helps relieve stress, moves energy, regulates the bowels, and helps alleviate constipation.
  • Practicing stress relief, such as meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or quiet time.
  • Dietary changes should focus on eliminating foods that trigger symptoms these include foods such as oatmeal, legumes like lentils they create a lot of gas, dairy, fatty greasy foods, alcohol, caffeine. Also you should monitor as a trigger for your symptoms. Other foods that are common triggers include greasy or fatty foods, diary products, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and drinks that are carbonated.
  • Probiotics may be helpful for some sufferers of IBS. Probiotics are supplements that replace the good bacteria in the gut necessary for digestion. A common probiotic is Lactobacilli’s acidophilus. 

You don’t have to suffer with IBS today there is treatment available come in and see us today at Turning Point Acupuncture.

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