Acupuncture and Complementary Therapies for Functional Disorders

There are several functional disorders other than irritable bowel syndrome that affect the digestive system. In someone with a functional disorder, the bowel does not function normally despite having a normal appearance. If you have any of these functional disorders, schedule an evaluation with one of the practitioners at Acupuncture Balanced Health.

Functional Dyspepsia

Functional dyspepsia is a disorder that causes bloating, nausea, and pain around the belly button. The nausea is not usually accompanied by vomiting, but it may cause vomiting in some people. Other names for functional dyspepsia include nervous stomach and non-ulcer dyspepsia. Some people with functional dyspepsia have difficulty eating because they have a feeling of fullness in the stomach. This condition may also cause discomfort and bloating for several hours after having a snack or meal. Scientists do not know the exact cause for this disorder, but some suspect it is occurs if the muscles in the upper digestive tract do not work well or food sits in the stomach too long after eating.


People with constipation have difficulty passing stool or infrequent passage of stool. In this case, infrequent refers to less than three times per week. Some people with constipation are able to pass some stool, but they do not empty their rectums completely. One of the most common causes of constipation is too little fiber in the diet. Disrupting a regular bathroom routine may also cause constipation. It is important to seek treatment for this condition because it may lead to hemorrhoids or anal fissures.

Recommended treatments for constipation include eating a diet high in fiber and getting regular exercise. It is also important to move your bowels as soon as you feel the need to do so instead of resisting the urge. Overuse of laxatives may cause serious problems, so it is important to try other treatment methods first.

Causes of Functional Disorders

There are several possible reasons someone might develop a functional GI disorder. Stress is one of them, so it is important to relieve stress in healthy ways. If you resist going to the bathroom because you have hemorrhoids, treating the hemorrhoids will help alleviate the problem. These are some of the other potential causes of functional GI disorders:

  • Pregnancy
  • Not consuming enough fiber
  • Eating a lot of dairy products
  • Taking laxatives frequently
  • Use of antacids containing aluminum or calcium
  • Not getting regular physical activity
  • Traveling or changing your schedule

Acupuncture for Functional Disorders

Acupuncture is useful for relieving the symptoms and triggers of some functional disorders. One clinical trial showed that true acupuncture was effective for treating functional dyspepsia. The study included more than 700 people, some of whom received medication and others who received acupuncture. Some of the participants also received sham acupuncture, which is a control that uses non-penetrating needles at non-acupuncture points. Acupuncture is also useful for treating the stress that triggers some functional disorders. Herbal medicines and lifestyle changes may also help control the symptoms of GI functional disorders.

Managing Your Health and Wellness

If you have a functional disorder, don’t put up with the symptoms. Schedule an evaluation with one of the practitioners at Acupuncture Balanced Health. We’ll take a detailed health history and use our knowledge and skills to help you live a more balanced life.