Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the most common digestive disorder, affecting 50% of all patients referred to gastroenterologists. It is a non-inflammatory bowel disease suffered mostly by young adults. Women are affected three times more than men (it is possible that more men suffer from IBS but don’t report the symptoms as often). Although IBS does not appear to do damage to the colon, cause colon cancer, or increase the risk of intestinal bleeding, the frustrating reality is that doctors are unsure of the causes of IBS. Therefore, no cure exists in Western medicine.
IBS tends to begin in the second or third decades of life, causing bouts of symptoms that recur at irregular periods. Onset in later adult life is rare. The characteristic symptoms of IBS include any of the following: The more symptoms present, the more likely the patient has IBS.
Location of abdominal pain may vary from site to site and attacks tend to be episodic and severe Mucus in the stools; Stools are often small and round and may have the appearance of rabbit droppings or be thin or ribbon-like
Varying degrees of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbances which may also worsen the condition
IBS is classified as one of Digestive disorder conditions:
Heartburn/GERD (Acid Reflux)
Stomach ulcers (Ulcerative Colitis)
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
Haemorrhoids (swelling and inflammation of veins around the lower rectum or anus)
Studies relevant to the conditions above are listed below:
Li KR. [Analysis on the effect of acupuncture treatment in 1383 adults with bacillary dysentery.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1990, 10(4):113-114 [in Chinese].Qiu ML et al. [A clinical study on acupuncture treatment of acute bacillary dysentery.] In: Zhang XT, ed. [Researches on acupuncture-moxibustion and acupuncture-anaesthesia.] Beijing, Science Press, 1986: 567-572 [in Chinese].Yu SZ et al. Clinical observation of 162 cases of acute bacillary dysentery treated by acupuncture. World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion, 1992, 2(3):13-14.
Dundee JW et al. Traditional Chinese acupuncture: a potentially useful antiemetic? British Medical Journal, 1986, 293:383-384.
Dundee JW et al. Acupuncture to prevent cisplatin-associated vomiting. Lancet, 1987,1:1083.
Ghaly RG et al. A comparison of manual needling with electrical stimulation and commonly used antiemetics. Anaesthesia, 1987, 45:1108-1110.
Weightman WM et al. Traditional Chinese acupuncture as an antiemetic. British Medical Journal, 1987, 295(6610):1379-1380.
Dundee JW et al. Acupuncture prophylaxis of cancer chemotherapy-induced sickness.Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1989, 82:268-271.
Barsoum G et al. Postoperative nausea is relieved by acupressure. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 1990, 83(2):86-89.
Ho RT et al. Electro-acupuncture and postoperative emesis. Anaesthesia, 1990, 45:327-329.
Ho CM et al. Effect of PC 6 acupressure on prevention of nausea and vomiting after epidural morphine for post-cesarean section pain relief. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 1996, 40(3):372-375.
Andrzejowski J et al. Semi-permanent acupuncture needles in the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Acupuncture-Medicine, 1996, 14(2):68-70.
McConaghy P et al. Acupuncture in the management of postoperative nausea and vomiting in patients receiving morphine via a patient-controlled analgesia system.Acupuncture-Medicine, 1996, 14(1):2-5.
Schwager KL et al. Acupuncture and postoperative vomiting in day-stay paediatric patients. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 1996, 24(6):674-677.
Liu SX et al. Magnetotherapy of neiguan in preventing vomiting induced by cisplatin.International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, 1997, 8(1):39-41.
Al-Sadi M et al. Acupuncture in the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting.Anaesthesia, 1997, 52(7):658-661.
Stein DJ et al. Acupressure versus intravenous metoclopramide to prevent nausea and vomiting during spinal anesthesia for cesarean section. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 1997,84(2):342-345.
Schlager A et al. Laser stimulation of acupuncture point P6 reduces postoperative vomiting in children undergoing strabismus surgery. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 1998,8(4):529-532.
Chu YC et al. Effect of BL10 (tianzhu), BL11 (dazhu) and GB34 (yanglingquan) acuplaster for prevention of vomiting after strabismus surgery in children. Acta Anaesthesiologica Sinica, 1998, 36(1):11-16.
Alkaissi A et al. Effect and placebo effect of acupressure (P6) on nausea and vomiting after outpatient gynaecological surgery. Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica, 1999,43(3):270-274.
Shenkman Z et al. Acupressure-acupuncture antiemetic prophylaxis in children undergoing tonsillectomy. Anesthesiology, 1999, 90(5):1311-1316.
Mo TW. [Observation of 70 cases of biliary ascariasis treated by acupuncture.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1987, 7(5):237-238 [in Chinese].
Yang TG et al. [Clinical report of electro-acupuncture analgesia in the treatment of abdominal colics.] Jiangsu Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1990, 11(12):31 [in Chinese].
Wu XL et al. Observation of acupuncture treatment of biliary colic in 142 cases. Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion, 1992, 8(6):8.
Epigastralgia (acute, in peptic ulcer, acute and chronic gastritis, and gastrospasm);
Xu PC et al. Clinical observation of treatment of acute epigastralgia by puncturing liangqiu and weishu acupoints. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, 1991, 2(2):127-130.
Yu YM. [Therapeutic effect and mechanism of needling ST36 in the treatment of epigastric pain.] Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1997, 16(3):10-11 [in Chinese].
Shi XL et al. [Acupuncture treatment of gastrointestinal spasm.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1995, 15(4):192 [in Chinese].
Lee YH et al. Acupuncture in the treatment of renal colic. Journal of Urology, 1992, 147:16-18.
Zhang WR et al. [Clinical observation of acupuncture in treating kidney and ureter stones.]Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1992, 12(3):5-6 [in Chinese].
Li JX et al. [Observation of the therapeutic effect of acupuncture treatment of renal colic.]Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1993, 13(2):65-66 [in Chinese].
Shu X, et al. [Observation of acupuncture treatment of abdominal pain in acute gastroenteritis.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1997, 17(11):653-654 [in Chinese]
Wu HG et al. [Therapeutic effect of herbal partition-moxibustion for chronic diarrhoea and its immunological mechanism.] Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1995, 36(1):25-27 [in Chinese].
Ma S et al. [Observation of combined acupuncture and moxibustion treatment of 60 cases of ulcerative colitis.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1997, 17(5):275-276 [in Chinese].
Wang HH et al. A study in the effectiveness of acupuncture analgesia for colonoscopic examination compared with conventional premedication. American Journal of Acupuncture, 1992, 20:217-221.
Wang HH et al. A clinical study on physiological response in electroacupuncture analgesia and meperidine analgesia for colonoscopy. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 1997,25(1):13-20.
Zhang AL et al. Clinical effect of acupuncture in the treatment of gastrokinetic disturbance. World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion, 1996, 6(1):3-8.
Wu HG et al. Preliminary study on therapeutic effects and immunologic mechanisms of herbal-moxibustion treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1996, 16(2):43-45 [in Chinese].
An Australian Research on IBS & Chinese Herbs
An Australian study published in 1998 in the Journal of the American Medical Association lends strong scientific support to treating IBS with Chinese herbs. In this double-blind study, 116 patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome were divided into three groups. One group was given a standard Chinese herbal preparation, a second group was given customized herbal formulas (individually written for each patient), and a third group was given a placebo. Each patient had regular consultations with both a Chinese herbal-medicine practitioner and a gastroenterologist. Both groups taking the Chinese herbs showed significant improvement over the patients taking the placebo. Positive results were reported by both the patients themselves and the gastroenterologists. Although there was improvement in both groups of patients taking herbs, it is important to note that the positive effects were shown to last longer in the group that was given individualized formulas. Only these patients had maintained improvement on a follow-up consultation 14 weeks after completing the treatment.
This study clearly shows that Chinese herbalism is most effective when each patient is treated not only for their condition, but also for their bodily constitution and other presenting symptoms. According to the principles of Chinese medicine, each patient must be treated as an individual. Optimal results will be obtained with both herbs and acupuncture when specific treatments are customized for each patient.
The World Health Organisation recommends acupuncture and herbal remedies to irritable colon syndrome (Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS). Clinical trials have proved that both acupuncture and herbal remedies are producing producing some therapeutic effects*.
Case Studies in the clinic
“When I first came to Chineseremedies clinic I was suffering from major depression, acne and digestive problems. After 6 weeks of herbs, 2 courses of tablets and acupuncture I can honestly say the improvement has been quite unbelievable. having lived with all these symptoms for many years the relief has been huge. I have been hugely impressed and would have no hesitation in recommending these combined treatments.”
“For a year I have been treated for joint pain and bowel complaints, neither of which have been helped by Western medication, I have greatly improved and now even discontinued the treatment.”
“Having been to my doctors approx 4 times since March with no result, I decided to come to Chinese Remedies Clinic. The results have truly surprised me, the pain in my stomach has already gone and after 3 weeks I am truly starting to feel much calmer, stronger and not so light headed.”
The patient (male, 30 years old) had been suffering from paroxysmal pain in epigastrium for six months with such symptoms as abdominal distension radiating to hypochordrium, frequent belching, nausea, vomiting, acid regurgitation, anorexia, irritability with depression. He also had bitter taste in his mouth, and loose stools. Gastroscopy revealed a gastric ulcer. He had thin and white tongue coating, deep and taut pulse. He was diagnosed as suffering from hyperactivity of liver Qi attacking the stomach. Treatment focused on soothing the liver and harmonising the stomach, and regulating Qi to relieve pain. After a series of herbal medicine and acupuncture treatments, the pain was relieved. After one month of treatment, the ulcer had gone – as proved by gastroscopy.