Diarrhea symptoms can be alleviated with acupuncture treatments and incorporating dietary changes like eating more fruit.

3 Functional GI Disorders Acupuncture Can Help

The mind and body function together to operate; often one is affected when the other is out of sync. Such is the case with difficult-to-diagnose functional disorders. Understanding what these disorders are, and what they are not, can help bring a holistic awareness to your overall health, and it can also help prevent further damage or discomfort to the physical and mental aspects of your well-being.

What are Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders?

Functional gastrointestinal disorders, or FGIDs, occur when there is abnormal function in the gastrointestinal tract. Many routine tests such as blood tests, endoscopic exams and X-rays may not show any signs because the dysfunction is not caused by structural or biochemical issues; it is caused by a disconnect between the brain and gut. As such, functional gastrointestinal disorders are diagnosed by symptoms that occur in various parts of the GI tract.

Understanding Functional Diarrhea

Functional diarrhea occurs when a person has chronic watery or loose stool consistently over three to six months. Though not always so, it is typically caused by changes in fluid absorption and irregular movement patterns in the intestines. To diagnose functional diarrhea, a physician has to consider, treat or rule out several other key factors that may aggravate the condition, including:

  • Bacterial overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Dietary habits
  • Stress levels
  • Anxiety

To offset functional diarrhea, dietary changes like the BRAT diet  (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) can help with making stool firmer. There are mixed thoughts regarding increasing fiber intake, as that may cause issues with constipation. Physicians may also recommend a probiotic to replace good bacteria that may have been lost in the gastrointestinal tract.

Understanding Functional Constipation

Functional constipation occurs when a person has extreme difficulty passing stool for three to six months. For individuals with this and other gastrointestinal disorders using the bathroom will typically mean experiencing discomfort, such as:

  • Reduced stool frequency (fewer than three bowel movements in a week)
  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Straining
  • Lumpy or hard stool

There are no set understandings about what causes functional constipation. Slow bowel transit may cause hardening in the intestines, creating much harder and less lubricated stool. Studies have also suggested that anxiety and depression can increase complications of functional constipation.

As with functional diarrhea, changing your diet may help offset some of the symptoms. Also, increasing water intake will help with stool transit through the gastrointestinal tract. Eating more vegetables and exercising regularly can help as well.

Understanding IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome is extremely similar to diarrhea and constipation with respect to its symptoms. However, one notable difference is that abdominal pain persists when IBS is present. Statistically, IBS affects 10-20 percent of all adults at some time in their lives. Symptoms of IBS include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Frequent bathroom urges

As with diarrhea and constipation, IBS symptoms can be reduced by changing your diet and monitoring fiber and sugar intake. Increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables can also potentially alleviate some symptoms of IBS.

If you are experiencing gastrointestinal disorders such as functional diarrhea, constipation or IBS, contact us to make an appointment. Based on your symptoms, we can create and execute integrative medicine solutions specifically for you. Acupuncture Balanced Health practices integrated programs to help rid your body of functional diseases. Our dedicated team of experts is committed to helping you find relief from your symptoms.



Polycystic Ovary Syndrome symptoms are a challenge to treat, but you may be able to find relief through acupuncture treatment.

What to Do If Your Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Isn’t Getting Better

Sometimes, no matter how diligently you follow your doctor’s advice, your polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) doesn’t get better. When you don’t see any results after exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and taking the medications your doctor prescribes, it’s not unusual to feel a little disappointed and frustrated. Although it may seem as if there are no other options,  acupuncture treatment can offer a natural solution to your problem.

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture was first practiced thousands of years ago in Asia. Early practitioners believed Qi, a life force that travels throughout your body, can become blocked, causing numerous health problems. When they inserted tiny needles into  strategic areas of the body, blockages were cleared and symptoms improved. Today, acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions and diseases, ranging from migraines to arthritis to PCOS.

Why Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Challenging to Treat?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex condition that causes multiple health issues, including:

  • Lack of menstruation
  • Long periods
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Excess hair growth
  • Obesity
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Enlarged ovaries that contain fluid-filled cysts
  • Insulin resistance
  • A high level of male hormones

Because the disorder affects your endocrine system, metabolism and reproductive health, it can be challenging to find the right mixture of medications that address all of these problems. Long-term treatment with medications is often needed to keep the problems under control.

Doctors frequently prescribe hormonal birth control methods, such as pills, rings or patches to regulate the menstrual cycle and treat other PCOS symptoms, such as excessive hair growth. Becoming pregnant often requires a mixture of medications that will help you ovulate. Although these medications can be helpful, some women can’t use them or can’t tolerate the side effects.

Metformin, a medication commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes, is often used to lower insulin level and improve insulin resistance. Unfortunately, metformin can also cause some unpleasant side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, cough, back or side pain, cramps and difficulty urinating.

How Can Acupuncture Treatment Improve PCOS Symptoms?

Acupuncture offers a completely natural way to improve your symptoms and has no side effects. Researchers who conducted a clinical trial review published in Gynecological Endocrinology determined that acupuncture can help improve PCOS symptoms by:

  • Increasing blood flow to the ovaries
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity
  • Reducing the number of ovarian cysts
  • Decreasing insulin and blood glucose levels
  • Making it easier to lose weight
  • Reducing levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that regulates your metabolism

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg also found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for PCOS. Participants in the study received electro-acupuncture treatment in the back of the knee and the abdominal muscles, as these areas correspond to the ovaries. During treatment, a low-frequency electrical charge was passed through the needles.

Study participants who received electro-acupuncture  treatments experienced:

  • A drop in male hormones
  • More regular menstrual cycles
  • Less acne

Is Acupuncture Treatment Painful?

If you feel a little squeamish about a treatment that involves the placement of multiple needles in your body, you’re not alone. Although acupuncture treatment looks as if it would be painful, the needles are so thin that you may only feel a slight pricking sensation.

Adding a current to acupuncture needles improves stimulation and can heighten the effects of treatments. Because the charge used in electro-acupuncture is so low, it doesn’t cause pain. You’ll probably only notice a slight vibration in the needles during an electro-acupuncture treatment.

Are you frustrated because your polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms don’t improve no matter what you do? Acupuncture offers a drug-free way to manage your symptoms and improve your health. We create treatment plans tailored to your individual needs and offer convenient hours. Call us today to schedule an appointment.