Being constipated means your bowel movements are difficult or happen less often than normalMost people will, at some time during their lives, experience one or more gastrointestinal conditions that can cause pain and discomfort and can affect quality of life. People who have conditions like IBS may experience more than one type of symptom.

In this article, we will be looking specifically at constipation and dyspepsia, and how acupuncture can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for these conditions.

Constipation Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Constipation is a common problem that can strike anyone at any age. There are, however, some common causes and triggers for constipation that may be contributing factors for your symptoms:

Whatever the cause of constipation, people with the condition report similar symptoms, which vary according to the severity of the problem:

  • Small, hard, dry stools
  • Difficulty passing stools
  • Excessive straining
  • Secondary complications, such as hemorrhoids or fissures
  • Abdominal pain and lower back pain in some cases
  • Excessive gas or bloating

The treatment for constipation also varies, depending on the cause and severity of the condition, but most treatment plans will include some of the following:

  • Short-term use of laxatives
  • Short-term use of stool softeners
  • Dietary changes
  • Exercise
  • Alternative therapies like acupuncture

In fact, acupuncture is one of the most effective natural measures for treating constipation when there are no serious underlying conditions. But make sure you discuss acupuncture as an option with your doctor and rule out any serious medical conditions before choosing this type of therapy.


Dyspepsia is another gastrointestinal condition that can be mild, moderate or severe. Unlike constipation, which revolves around one central symptom, dyspepsia encompasses several symptoms. These symptoms may include:

  • Bloating, belly pain and discomfort
  • Regurgitation, gas and burping
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • A feeling of being unpleasantly full after eating

The symptoms can range from mildly irritating to completely debilitating, and they are most commonly caused by one of the following conditions:

  • GERD or IBS
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Gall bladder problems
  • Swallowing air
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Stomach cancer and other serious diseases

When treating dyspepsia, the first priority is always to discover the cause of the symptoms. In some cases, the cause may be serious and may need emergency or specialized treatment. Once the underlying cause is treated, there are several things you can do to treat the remaining symptoms:

  • Change eating habits to include smaller meals, limiting foods like chocolate and spicy foods, and cutting out alcohol
  • Quit smoking and other tobacco use, as these habits can make dyspepsia worse
  • Raise the head of your bed if you commonly experience dyspepsia at night
  • Lose weight if you are overweight, and avoid tight clothing around the abdomen
  • Consider acupuncture and other alternative or traditional therapies

In addition to conventional medicines, treatments like acupuncture can bring relief, as proved by these studies. So if you are seeking help for your dyspepsia symptoms, and you’ve already been diagnosed and are receiving treatment from your doctor, it may be time to add acupuncture to your treatment plan.