IBS is a common
disorder affecting 10 to 20 percent of adults at some point in their
lives. Once called “spastic colon,” it's a combination of symptoms
that may include constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, fatigue and
headaches that can be worsened by certain foods, stress and other
irritants. IBS is the end result of nervous interference with the
normal function of the lower digestive tract. The symptoms are
variable and change over time.
to Chinese Medicine
patterns may be present, IBS is almost always considered a
disharmony between the liver and the spleen in Chinese medicine. The
liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi and blood throughout
the body. This flow can be upset by emotions or stress, causing
stagnation of qi (energy) or blood. 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.
• Get Acupuncture - An increasing
number of studies show that acupuncture can offer relief from
• Relieve Stress - Try Qi Gong, Tai Chi, meditation, yoga or
breathing exercises. Finding a way to relax is key to keeping IBS
symptoms under control.
• Exercise - Physical activity helps to maintain bowel
regularity and reduce stress.
Nutrition and Supplements
• Identify trigger foods - By keeping a symptom diary, you
should be able to pinpoint the foods that lead to your IBS symptoms.
For example, some foods that may increase gas and bloating are beans
and raw fruits and vegetables.
• Avoid dairy foods - Eliminating milk and milk products can
be a big help for many people.
• Don't overeat - Too much food in a single meal can set off
IBS symptoms; opt for small, frequent meals when possible.
• Take probiotics with meals - These products contain
“friendly” bacteria that can stabilize the digestive tract; you can
find milk-free brands (such as culturelle) in health-food stores.
• Take peppermint oil - Enteric-coated capsules taken 15 to
30 minutes before meals led to significant improvement in IBS
symptoms among participants in a Chinese study. Take one or two
capsules three times a day before meals.
Contact Laurel Binder
for Acupuncture in Los Angeles