Acupuncture improves the symptoms of IBS
Dealing with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can be frustrating, embarrassing, and isolating. Those affected might feel encouraged to hear HealthCMi’s report that last month researchers conducting a meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials concluded “that acupuncture improves the symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain and distension, sensation of incomplete defecation, times of defecation per day, and state of stool.” (New Acupuncture For IBS Finding  | Acupuncture Continuing Education News | Acupuncture News.)
HealthCMi went on to cite evidence of sustained benefit in treating the symptoms of IBS using acupuncture, without adverse events reported.
Sound too good to be true? Nope! I’ll add we Chinese herbalists also know that herbs can make a significant difference in care. To read case studies on IBS using Chinese herbal medicine, visit the Chinese Herb Academy.
Is IBS the same thing as IBD?
No. IBD is Irritable Bowel Disease, a broad term for conditions involving inflammation of the GI tract and a chronic or recurring immune response (such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis). IBS, on the other hand, does not involve inflammation. It’s considered a functional condition in which the GI tract “looks normal but doesn’t work as it should” (webMD).
Who gets IBS?
About one in seven persons in the US have IBS; but 70% of those folks experience symptoms mild enough they don’t recognize the condition. Nonetheless, IBS is one of the top concerns addressed by doctors (International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders). It tends to affect women slightly more than men, and for half of those affected, appears before they are 35 years old.
What causes IBS?
While Western medicine does not know what causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chinese medicine offers a number of different etiologies. Our system of practice refers to organs, such as Liver or Spleen, but this is not necessarily the same as the Western organs by the same name. For us, the Liver or Spleen are umbrella terms for a number of functions in the body. IBS for acupuncturists and herbalists may involve (but is not limited to) a pattern of Liver overacting Spleen, dampness, or underlying qi or yin deficiency.
Symptoms of IBS
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Diarrhea or constipation (sometimes alternating)
- Mucus in the stool
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms on/off or regularly for at least 12 weeks, you may be experiencing IBS. Make an appointment with your doctor and acupuncturist/herbalist. Whether your symptoms are mild or not, you do not need to suffer in silence. Get the help you need!