Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder of the intestines. It causes belly pain, cramping or bloating, and diarrhea or constipation.

What causes IBS?

Doctors think that IBS symptoms are related to problems with the signals sent between the brain and the intestines. This causes problems with the way the muscles of the intestines move. For some people with IBS, certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, and some antibiotics may trigger pain and other symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Intestinal Symptoms:

  • Abdominal Pain or discomfort
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Change of size or consistency of stools: they may be hard and pellet like, pencil-thin, or loose and watery

Non-intestinal Symptoms:

  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth.
  • Backache.
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia) not caused by symptoms of IBS.
  • Sexual problems, such as pain during sex or reduced sexual desire.
  • Heart palpitations (feeling like the heart skips a beat or is fluttering).
  • Urinary symptoms (frequent or urgent need to urinate, trouble starting the urine stream, trouble emptying the bladder).

How Can Acupuncture Help IBS?

Conducting signals between brain and intestines

TCM thinks the human body is an organic whole, different parts of the body are connected through the pathway of energy, which known as Meridians. Stomach and Gallbladder meridians pass through the abdomen area and reach to the brain. So stimulate points in these meridians can connect brain to intestines and conduct signals between these two, so as to regulate the movement of intestines.

Relieving symptoms:

  • Abdominal Pain: applying acupuncture to the painful abdomen can help the body to release endorphins, the natural pain killer; it can also affect the releasing of neurotransmitters, which can break down pain transmission.
  • Diarrhea and Constipation: some acupuncture points can regulate the intestinal muscles so as to adjust the bowel movement.

Managing stress: Dr.Yan’s Brain Activating Acupuncture can promote blood supply to the brain and help relax the stressed central nervous system. It can also create a good sense of well being and boost energy. (See details in Stress Management)

Balancing Hormones: Dr.Yan’s Female Hormone Balancing Acupuncture can adjust levels of Estrogen and Progesterone, so as to regulate period, relieve symptoms of PMS and help IBS which is related with the period. (See details in Female Hormone Balancing Acupuncture)