Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine

What Is IBS and How Can I Treat It?

You’ve been spending the entire day at University Mall on a mission to find the perfect dress or pants to attend an upcoming wedding. You head home with a smile on your face. Your endurance has paid off – or so you think. As you slip on your spectacular outfit, a prehistoric growl rises from your stomach. You frown: is IBS declaring war on you again? Your stomach has bloated to the size of a small pumpkin, and no matter how hard you try, there’s no way you can squeeze back into your new clothes. Recover your wellbeing and equilibrium after an IBS attack through acupuncture treatments.

What Is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome is estimated to occur in about 10 to 20 percent of the population in the U.S. Symptoms occur when stress results in colon spasms, resulting in abdominal pain and discomfort.

There is no specific test to diagnose IBS, and its causes are unknown. Some studies suggest that a glitch in the nervous system may heighten the sensitivity of the lower digestive tract. This means that harmless muscle contractions or simple gas lead to pain, bloating and a plethora of other problems.

Typical symptoms of IBS include:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Discomfort
  • Gas
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

Since these symptoms occur frequently with other disorders, your physician will most likely rule out other possible diseases before diagnosing you with IBS. Chances are that if you’re also experiencing weight loss, rectal bleeding, nausea, fever, or anemia, you’ll need to undergo further testing.

Keep in mind that as unpleasant as IBS can be, your intestines remain unharmed, so you and your healthcare professional should focus on how to prevent the reoccurrence of symptoms.

Treatment for IBS

IBS symptoms vary from person to person, so there is no set treatment course for the disorder. Treatment includes:

  • Keeping a food diary to identify foods that seem to trigger your IBS symptoms
  • Visiting an integrative medicine clinic, such as Acupuncture Balanced Health, to learn about pain and stress management techniques
  • Integrating yoga, meditation and breathing techniques to lower your stress levels
  • Consulting your physician to learn more about your options for prescription medications, such as anticholinergic and antispasmodic drugs, or antidepressants for pain management
  • Trying acupuncture for digestive disorders
  • Trying hypnosis
  • Increasing your exercising habits, which help reduce stress and maintain bowel regularity

What About Nutrition and Natural Supplements?

Avoiding foods that cause IBS symptoms seems like an obvious step, but it can take up to a month or so to correctly pinpoint what foods propel you to groan and moan. However, a 2005 study on IBS patients published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology linked excess bloating and gas to consuming wheat, beef, pork, lamb and soybeans.

Individuals have also reported relief after taking other measures. You may also wish to:

  • Increase your fiber intake.
  • Avoid dairy foods, stimulants and non-nutritive sweeteners.
  • Refrain from overeating.
  • Take probiotics.
  • Ingest peppermint oil 15 to 30 minutes before eating.
  • Start taking turmeric powder – turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and it also reduced IBS symptoms by 50 percent in a 2004 pilot study.

Acupuncture for Digestive Disorders

According to the British Acupuncture Council, spasms in the colon are closely related to the sympathetic nervous system’s response to stress. Acupuncture can activate the opposing parasympathetic nervous system, initiating the ‘rest and digest’ response. Some IBS patients have reported experiencing great relief with acupuncture.

Acupuncture Balanced Health

If you’re tired of planning your social life (or lack thereof) around your meals, contact us to make an appointment. By offering traditional Chinese medicine and integrative medicine consultations, Acupuncture Balanced Health is dedicated to reducing your IBS symptoms and improving your quality of life. Bringing you the best of Western and Eastern medicine, our team of experts includes traditional Chinese medicine physicians and a board-certified physician with expertise in integrative medicine and acupuncture research. Acupuncture Balanced Health is committed to assembling a personalized plan that will meet all of your individual needs and health goals – including ensuring your new clothes still fit you after a shopping spree.



7 Methods of Treatment for Arthritis Patients

Unless you or someone you love has arthritis, chances are you won’t know the exact causes, signs and definition of arthritis. If you or someone close to you has just been diagnosed with this condition, you may not be sure about the arthritis treatments out there.

What Is Arthritis?

The first question you probably have about this disease is what the actual arthritis definition is, and this is where things start to get complicated. That’s because there’s no single cause of arthritis.

The cause of your arthritis will depend on what type you have: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or some other form. It may be caused by mechanical wear and tear on the joints, issues with bone density or autoimmune conditions. Your doctor may need to run extensive tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.

While there are multiple causes of arthritis, the symptoms of most forms of this disease are relatively similar, and everyone with the condition will experience some or all of these signs of arthritis to some degree at some point:

  • Joint swelling and pain.
  • Reduced mobility in joints.
  • Stiffness, particularly first thing in the morning.
  • Redness or warmth around a joint.

Diagnosing your exact type of arthritis will require a medical history, X-rays and tests, and it may be a little while before you have a precise diagnosis. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, arthritis is close to a BI syndrome, which commonly caused by COLD, WIND, HEAT or DAMP invasion, or KIDNEY deficiency. You can read more about this here.

Treatment for Arthritis

Once you have experienced signs of arthritis and been diagnosed with one of the many forms of the disease, it’s important to realize that all of your arthritis treatments will be geared toward treating the symptoms of the disease rather than curing the underlying cause.

Thus far, there is no known cure for arthritis, and there are no known methods for repairing the damage that may already be done by the wear and tear on your joints that this disease causes.

Once your doctor has diagnosed the type of arthritic pain you are dealing with, they will work with you to create a comprehensive treatment plan that may include many different parts, including the following seven methods of treatment for arthritis patients:

  1. Dietary changes.
  2. Customized exercise programs (usually low-impact exercises and strength training).
  3. Lifestyle changes, including weight loss for overweight patients and sleep pattern changes for patients with poor sleep patterns.
  4. Physical therapy or massage.
  5. Pain management treatments, including acupuncture.
  6. Heat or ice treatments.
  7. Medications, including pain relievers, autoimmune medications and steroids. Drugs will be prescribed based on the type of arthritis you have been diagnosed with.

Arthritis is a chronic disease, and the primary goals of treatment are to slow the progress of your symptoms and to manage the pain associated with this disorder. BI syndrome in Chinese Medicine means stagnation or blockage of something in joints or damage in joints. Acupuncture is one of effective tools to relieved the pain by unblock the stagnation. Be sure to consult your doctor and explore both complementary and traditional treatments, which have been known to help provide significant relief for sufferers. It may take some time to find the right balance for you, but once you do, you can certainly minimize the effects of the condition.