Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition, of which approximately 15%[1] of the population of the US suffer. Affecting the large intestine it can be extremely uncomfortable, resulting in abdominal pain, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea and cramping. IBS is typically a diagnosis by elimination.  Once all other ailments have been ruled out, IBS is generally diagnosed. It is considered a functional disorder since the system typically has nothing that shows up via imaging and traditional diagnosis techniques, and yet it still exhibits potentially, debilitating symptoms.  It is proven that IBS can be managed through a healthy diet and through managing stress, although other treatments might be required.

The cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is still unclear, although it could be the result of hyperactive/hypoactive intestinal muscles. Often, people do not realize that they have IBS until they have visited the doctor. Acupuncture can directly assist with IBS symptoms by Providing pain relief[2] and helping to reduce both anxiety and depression[3].

How Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Can Help

Acupuncture is a popular form of treatment for those who are suffering from IBS due to its effectiveness in treating chronic pain and its ability to activate the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system (regulating the digestive response). In regulating the nervous system, it also allows patients to feel more at ease and relaxed – which in turn decreases abdominal pain and cramping.  Acupuncture also reduces the inflammation in the gut allowing it to begin the healing process for long term improved quality of life.

Chinese herbal treatments can also assist with acupuncture by helping with the symptoms. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association[4] tested a group of people, splitting them into three groups. One had traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal preparation, the second had customized Chinese medicine herbal formulas, and the third was given a placebo. Throughout the study, they had regular appointments with a gastroenterologist and TCM herbal practitioner. The results indicated a significant improvement in the symptoms felt by those who had IBS in the groups which received the herbal formulations.

What does an acupuncturist do?

An acupuncturist will sit down with the patient and discuss their symptoms with them, getting a full health history from them. They will then create an individually customized treatment plan which may include Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and other therapies to alleviate the symptoms. The patient will generally also receive self-care guidance to enhance their long term results.

What is out of balance?

IBS can affect the whole body, not only the abdominal area. If left untreated, it will result in long-term discomfort and pain, often inhibiting the person's ability to travel very far from a bathroom. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help to treat the symptoms alongside a healthy and well-managed lifestyle.

IBS is faced by millions of people around the world of all ages; therefore, it is essential to know that it can be treated safely and effectively. Stressful situations and menstruation often result in IBS symptoms. Acupuncture targets these symptoms, decreasing inflammation, thus easing the discomfort and pain felt by patients.

To better understand how our clinic can assist with the treatment of IBS, call to schedule your consultation.

[1] Brandt LK, Bjorkaman D, Fennerty MB, et al. Systematic Review on the Management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in North America. Am J Gastroenterol. Nov 2002;997 (11 suppl): S7-25

[2]Stux, G and Pomeranz, B. Basics of Acupuncture (1998) https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783642514333

[3] Samuels, N, Gropp, C, Singer, SR and Oberbaum, M. Acupuncture for psychiatric illness: a literature review. 2008 Summer;34(2):55-64. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18682338

[4] Journal of the American Medical Association. 1998. 280:1585-1589.


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Si Shou Acupuncture and Wellness, PLLC
5424 W US Hwy 290 Service Rd Ste 106 
Austin, TX 78735
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