How Chinese Medicine Diagnoses and Treats IBS

A complex disease in which the intestines are unable to efficiently move their contents, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may lead to symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and stomach pain. Less common symptoms can include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and headaches. Symptoms may be set off by drugs, hormonal fluctuations, emotional factors, diet, and stress.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, IBS can have several possible causes. This may include Spleen imbalance. The Spleen is the organ responsible for the digestion and absorption of liquids and foods. One of its main functions is to help create Spleen Qi. This type of Qi is the one that gives nourishment and power to the entire body.

The Spleen also manufactures blood from the food it breaks down to transform it into energy that powers the body. An overworked or abused Spleen will result in lower energy levels in the body that in turn will lead to illness.

The Spleen gets easily weakened and affected by a weak constitution, too much worrying, antibiotics, and a poor diet and eating habits. When the Spleen becomes too weak to efficiently process or metabolize food, “dampness” arises in the body which causes undigested food to rot in the gut, causing a variety of symptoms. You may experience difficulty concentrating, a foggy feeling in your head, or headaches if the dampness “rises” to your head. Longstanding dampness in the body can result in fullness, bloating, and loose stools.

One other factor for IBS is Liver imbalance. The Liver, in Chinese medicine, is closely tied to emotional health. Anger and stress directly affect the Liver’s function. A poor diet, legal and illegal medications, and alcohol can compromise its functions further. When this occurs, the energy of the Liver overflows and assaults the Spleen, figuratively speaking. Your Spleen can be easily overcome if it is already in a weakened state. The can lead to stress-induced IBS.

You may experience alternating constipation and diarrhea if your Liver is compromised. You may also experience dull pain, headaches, gas, and bloating. If this is the case then your Liver, not your Spleen, is the main source of your problem.

IBS symptoms may also be brought about Kidney Yang imbalance. The warmth in your body is provided by Kidney Yang energy. This energy provides warmth to the Spleen and helps in the digestion and breakdown of food. Weak Kidney energies may lead to a sore back, weak knees, cold limbs, bladder incontinence and early-morning diarrhea.

Chinese medicine and acupuncture can provide you with a clear picture of the underlying imbalance(s) that result in IBS symptoms. Your acupuncturist will help your determine what meridian and organ systems are causing your IBS symptoms. To maximize your healing, adjunct therapies such as exercises, breathing techniques, dietary changes, herbs, and whole food supplements are recommended.

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Bellmore, NY 11710
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome Complications

There are not that many complications one can experience from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. Oftentimes IBS symptoms are triggered by eating and patients who want to avoid IBS may alter their diets or reduce their food intake leading to loss in weight.

Having IBS can complicate one’s life. One such complication is the need to look for public toilets when you’re outside.  When you have IBS you will likely experience urgent diarrhea and many people with IBS would rather stay at home rather than visit public places for fear they may experience a moment of incontinence in public.

Psychological impact

Some people who have never experienced IBS will think that IBS is just a form of indigestion and thus a very small issue to deal with.  But those who daily suffer from the inconvenience, discomfort and pain of this condition, IBS can have a major psychological impact in their lives. Many doctors treating IBS patients have stated that almost all of their IBS patients experience some form of anxiety and depression.

Constipation and diarrhea are symptoms of IBS and can aggravate into conditions leading to hemorrhoids.

IBS can affect your personal and social life. It can restrict your social life for fear of experiencing incontinence outside the home making you decide not to attend or avoid certain social gatherings.

IBS can also lower the quality of you and your partner’s sex life. It may affect your lovemaking forcing you to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom while you’re in the midst of your lovemaking.

These complications may hinder the sufferer to live his/her life to the fullest causing the sufferer to become sad and eventually depressed.

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Preparing for your Appointment

If you are suffering from intolerable irritable bowel syndrome, talk to your doctor about it. After the doctor has evaluated you, he may refer you to a gastroenterologist for further tests to make an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

In order to make the most out of your doctor’s appointment, the following are some helpful information of what you can do to gain more knowledge of your condition and what you can expect from your physician.

  • Jot down all the questions about your condition to ask your physician – Coming prepared with all the questions can help you avoid forgetting them and will make your consultation with your doctor more productive.
  • List down all your important medical information – This list should include all the illnesses you’ve had in the past and present as well as the present supplements, vitamins and drugs you are asking.  Bring along all your past and recent medical records to your appointment.
  • List down all the symptoms you have been experiencing
  • Keep a food diary – Mention the foods that seem to aggravate your IBS symptoms in your diary
  • Mention in a list the things that make you stressed out and any recent changes you’ve experienced in your life – These things may be the ones making your IBS symptoms more severe and/or frequent.

The following questions are some of the useful questions you can ask your doctor to properly inform you about your condition.

  • What are the things causing my IBS problems?
  • What are the causes for my IBS condition?
  • What tests and exams should I undergo? Do I need to specially prepare for these tests?
  • What do you think is the best treatment procedure for my condition?
  • What is the next optional treatment if the first treatment does not work?
  • Will these treatments entail side effects?
  • Are the foods that I eat responsible for my IBS?
  • What are the foods that can help remove or at least lessen my symptoms?
  • What changes in my lifestyle can help me improve my condition? Will exercise, counseling or therapy aid me in making my condition better?
  • When will be my next doctor’s appointment?

If you have other questions to your doctor, you need to ask them all during your appointment time.

What to expect from your doctor

In order to gain information about your condition, your physician will ask you certain questions. Some of these questions may need you to ponder for the right answer. You need to take your time when replying to these questions so you may answer them as honestly as possible since providing the correct information to your doctor will make him come up with the right diagnosis and a correct treatment plan. Some of the questions may look like these:

  • What symptoms do you experience?
  • When was the first time you experienced these symptoms?
  • Do these symptoms come intermittently or do you experience them most of the time?
  • What things seem to cause or aggravate these symptoms? (These can include the foods you eat, the things that stress you highly or in women, their menstruation).
  • Are you losing weight unintentionally?
  • Have you noticed blood in your feces?
  • Do your symptoms include vomiting and/or fever?
  • Have you been under severe stress lately?
  • What are the foods do you eat?
  • Are you lactose intolerant or have any food allergies?
  • Do you have other health conditions that have been diagnosed in the past?
  • What over-the-counter and prescription drugs are you now taking and have recently took? What supplements, herbs and vitamins are you now taking and have recently took?
  • Do you have family members or relatives who have a history of bowel conditions?
  • Is your condition severely affecting your work or school functions? Is it severely affecting your personal relationships?
  • Is your stomach pain relieved by a bowel movement or not?

Vital Gate Acupuncture
107 W 82nd St
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-4244
http://www.vitalgate.com/