Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the catch-all phrase assigned to gastrointestinal tract issues that can’t be explained. Symptoms include:
- abdominal pain
- alternative constipation and diarrhoea
- mucus in the stool
While there is no specific explanation for IBS in Western medicine, in Chinese medicine IBS is caused by Liver, Stomach or Large Intestine dysfunction. These dysfunctions may be due to organ weakness, parasitic or bacterial infections or stress.
Types of IBS
There are three main types of IBS.
- Diarrhoea predominant
- Constipation predominant
- Alternative constipation and diarrhoea.
All of which bring lifestyle difficulties for sufferers.
Western Treatment for IBS
Most Western treatment centres around changing the diet (e.g. a low FODMAP diet) and medication (anti-anxiety medications, pain-killers, anti-diarrhoea medication such as Imodium or Lomotil and anti-spasmotic medications). None of these deal with the root cause of the problem and many have unwanted side-effects. FODMAP diets can work well but they are very restrictive and can take a lot of the enjoyment out of eating.
Chinese Medicine Treatment of IBS
Pulse diagnosis will determine which of your Liver, Stomach or Large Intestine is causing the problem and treatment is via acupuncture Melbourne, Chinese herbs and diet recommendations. It is also important to determine if you have an ‘emotional bowel’ (i.e. your symptoms are worse when you get upset) and deal with this, and to consider and determine whether dysbiosis (poor gut bacteria make up) or a parasitic infection may also be contributing to the problem.
By identifying and treating the root cause of the problem Chinese medicine aims to eliminate (or at least substantially reduce) IBS symptoms to help you get off any medications, eat more liberally and get on with your life.