Can Acupuncture Help Chronic Diarrhea?

By June 9, 2021acupuncture
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Almost everyone has experienced acute diarrhea at some point in their lives. Loose, liquidy stool accompanied by bloating and stomach cramps tend to leave a long-lasting memory, even if the illness was only passing. For people who suffer from chronic diarrhea, this unpleasant experience is all too common and often disrupts the way people go about their daily lives. 

The precipitating factor for chronic diarrhea is unclear in most cases, as is the best course of treatment. The results of various therapeutic options vary significantly from person to person, however, mounting anecdotal and clinical evidence is beginning to show that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments, acupuncture in particular, can be more effective at resolving chronic diarrhea than pharmaceutical options. 

If you have suffered from bowel problems and are evaluating your treatment options, you have probably asked yourself “can acupuncture help chronic diarrhea?” As studies advance our knowledge of the subject in the realm of alternative medicine, more and more signs are pointing to acupuncture therapy as a low-risk, low-effort and high-reward approach to alleviating common gastrointestinal disorders, that can treat irritable bowel syndrome and related chronic diarrhea with great effectiveness. 

 

Understanding the Many Causes of Diarrhea and Abdominal Pain: Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders 

 

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Our digestive systems can be disrupted by external factors, such as the food we eat or medications we take, as well as internal factors, such as stress or digestive disorders. 

Functional gastrointestinal disorders are those that have persistent and recurring symptoms but are not caused by visible abnormalities. They include conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease and different types of inflammatory bowel disease. 

The most confounding aspect of these medical problems is that they aren’t usually detected through diagnostic techniques like x-rays or ultrasounds because the digestive system appears normal. They are diagnosed through the patient’s symptoms alone, in a similar fashion to migraine headaches. 

 

Acupuncture Treatment Principles for Chronic Diarrhea 

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According to traditional Chinese medicine, the primary cause of diarrhea has to do with the (mal)functioning of the spleen, liver, kidneys and stomach, and there are several patterns of disruption to our normal digestion that can cause diarrhea. 

When the flow of qi is disturbed in one area of the body, pathologies tend to show up in other areas. This dynamic is what leads to chronic diarrhea for so many people, a disruption of qi between organ pairs, such as the liver and gallbladder or spleen and stomach, perturbs the digestive system. 

The acupuncture method can be used to effectively treat digestive disorders by Identifying the specific acupuncture points that will resolve the imbalances present in the body and restore proper digestive function. 

 

Review of Clinical Research on the Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine Techniques 

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According to a recent study (Pei et al.) at the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, randomized controlled trials showed that abdominal acupuncture was more effective at relieving IBS with chronic diarrhea as a primary symptom than a widely-used medication, pinaverium bromide. 

This treatment trial randomly assigned participants to a treatment group, one using pinaverium bromide, and the other using only acupuncture. They each followed the same treatment duration, but the clinical evaluation showed that acupuncture helps restore stool consistency and relieve other symptoms at an effective rate of 90%. The medication control group achieved an effective treatment rate of 80%. 

The researchers found that acupuncture was able to achieve such strong results due to its effects on regulating the central nervous system, the enteric nervous system in particular, and the gut-brain axis. 

 

Southcentre Chinese Acupuncture – Your Clinic for Acupuncture in Calgary

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Owned and operated by Dr. Yan, a master acupuncturist with over 25 years of experience in both Canada and China, Southcentre Chinese Acupuncture in Calgary offers effective treatment plans for digestive disorder, including irritable bowel syndrome and chronic diarrhea. 

Offering lunch, evening and weekend appointments. Dr. Yan’s gentle and holistic approach has helped many people overcome their digestive issues and reclaim their quality of life. To book an appointment, call 403-271-6662 or contact Dr. Yan here.

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