Digestive issues have a wide range. You can have relatively mild issues to more serious ones.
It can range from:
- loose stool
- ulcerative colitis
- crohn’s disease
- chronic diarrhea or IBS
- digestive organ cancers
Approximately 62 million Americans suffer from digestive issues.
High sugars, processed foods, stress, irregular eating can all cause digestive issues. Whatever the cause, it’s important to be proactive about digestive health because it plays such crucial role in overall health.
Let’s take a look at few common disorders:
Bloating and gas
Eating too fast or too much, eating refined foods or excess sugar, alcohol or coffee or repetitive stress can are all culprits.
We should be careful of these things in general, but sometimes its beyond our control. Or we simply want to go out and celebrate in a big way with friends. We all have varied life styles. Acupuncture can help you restore balance in your digestive system when this occurs.
Chronic bloating and gas obviously requires life style changes. As, this can lead to more serious issues so its important to get regular treatments as well as make changes in your diet. If you have occasional parties and want to come in for a treatment to make your digestion happy we can do that too.
Candida overgrowth in the gut often causes bloating and gas, and we have herbs and acupuncture treatment to bring this under control. Or you have digestives issues accompanied by your menstrual cycle, for this we would work on both the cycle and digestion.
Most common cause of this is diet in low fiber and antioxidants. And again, processed food, additives, refined sugars are very hard to digest and pass.
Many people are constipated but may not even realize it.
They may have regular bowel movements, but their systems are not being flushed thoroughly. This creates intestinal toxicity. Many chronic issues can come from this. Intestinal cleansing is a high priority in healing a large number of chronic health issues. I’m including a general nutritional supplements list. But be mindful when using the supplements. Constipation is a symptom, the cause is of which is very individual.
- Aloe juice decreases inflammation and promotes peristalsis (smooth contraction in the bowel). But it’s cold in nature so it’s not suitable for a person who has constipation due to cold in lower abdomen.
- Psyllium husk is high in fiber that alleviates constipation with water to flush the system. But it may not be suitable for deficient patient who lack power to push things our of their system.
- Chia seeds, Flax meal and other seeds are excellent in high fiber sources to relieve constipation. But it can also be cloying.
- Senna leaf is useful for severe constipation. But not suitable for long term use.
- Constitutional Chinese herbal formula are more individually tailored, and can be taken as a tea.
Chronic diarrhea can be dangerous to your health.
It is still one of the leading causes of death in the world. With chronic diarrhea, you are not absorbing nutrients or liquids that your body needs to function. Diarrhea is related to spleen meridian/system weakness or intestinal inflammation. Stress and anxiety are often root causes of diarrhea. In addition to Constitutional herbal formulas, I use the following supplements in my clinic.
- Chamomile, Peppermint Slippery Elm, and ginger. They harmonize and soothe the stomach to stop diarrhea.
- Probiotics such as acidophilus can be taken long term to keep the GI track healthy.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a very common problem affecting millions of American.
IBS is often used by doctors to diagnose patients who’s symptoms don’t match any other diagnosis. Or if the doctor is not sure what is causing the bowel issue. IBS is characterized by bowel movements that fluctuate between diarrhea and constipation. Accompanied by abdominal pain or distention. People with IBS tend to be sensitive to variety of foods.
- refined sugar
- high fiber foods
Symptoms persist and may be resistant to conventional treatments.
In acupuncture, IBS is usually a sign of disharmony between two different organ systems. It is often called Liver over acting on the Spleen. One organ, Liver, is hyperactive due to excess stress, anger, and frustration. This overactive organ system weakens the spleen system. Resulting in loose stool and fatigue. Or a constitutionally weak spleen system is not able to handle a normally functioning liver system. Depending on the case, we either reduce the hyperactivity, or strengthen the weak system. Or we may do both.
I recommend committing to weekly acupuncture and herbal treatments for 4-8 visits. Depending on the severity and duration of your symptoms. Most digestive disorders respond well to regular acupuncture and herbal treatments.
Making dietary changes that will restore the GI system and heal the damage is very important. In East Asian Medicine, your digestion is one of the main ways of gauging your overall health. We carry a lot of emotions at our abdomen. And, maintaining a health digestion is essential for mental health as well. The digestive system is often referred to as the second brain for this reason.