Constipation & Diarrhea ~ More Common Than You Think!
by Yosef Pollack, L.Ac.
Often, in western medicine, all kinds of stomach problems get lumped into one ailment – “irritable bowel syndrome.” Doesn’t sound too pretty, does it? This includes constipation and diarrhea, two problems that afflict more of us than we care to admit. It also includes cramps, pain, gas, irregular bowels movements, heartburn, loss of appetite and more. Irritable bowel syndrome basically isn’t really pleasant, and it can completely ruin your day.
Traditional Chinese medicine doesn’t have a term like “irritable bowel syndrome” to describe these problems, but it’s been successful in treating it for thousands of years. Without colonoscopies, endoscopies or drugs, TCM gets to the root of the problem. It addresses what you’re eating and how you’re living. In TCM, we do not separate one condition from every other part of the body. It looks at everything – body, mind, diet, stress level and lifestyle holistically.
Traditional Chinese Diagnosis for Constipation and Diarrhea
We usually know constipation and diarrhea by their usual symptoms. Diarrhea refers to loose, watery stools. Constipation is the opposite – no matter how much time you spend on the toilet, nothing comes out.
To diagnose the problem, a doctor trained in TCM will pay attention to the spleen, stomach, large intestine and liver. These are all important in digesting food and they work together to form the digestive system.
The most common causes of diarrhea include an excess of dampness and/or heat in one or more of these organs. Constipation is often caused by conditions that are too dry. Either condition can be caused by a stagnation of blood or qi in one of these organs. Causes may differ from person to person.
Treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Acupuncture is usually used to relieve these symptoms. It can loosen a blockage of qi somewhere in the internal organs by stimulating certain points in the body. Once the qi is once again flowing properly, you will see the symptoms disappear.
But that’s not all – if it were just a matter of sticking a needle here and a needle there, you’d be home free. But usually, there are some dietary recommendations to go along with it. This can be just as important for whether your treatment is a success or not. The doctor may suggest some foods to stay away from, and they may also recommend some exercises to reduce your stress level. Everything that goes on in the body is connected, so relaxing your mind can help your tummy.
They may also recommend some Chinese herbal teas for you to drink. These will help regulate the qi and maintain a balance throughout the body. They will help keep constipation and diarrhea from coming back. These teas may not be tasty, but they’ll get the job done.
The treatment is custom-made for each patient. Traditional Chinese medicine treats constipation, diarrhea and other icky digestive problems by focusing on the whole body and how it all works together. Try it and you’ll see what a little au-natural treatment can do for you!
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