Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): What is it?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain and change of bowel habits, without organic condition.

A global perspective given by the World Gastroenterology Organization (WGO) points out that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can impact the quality of an individual’s daily life and cause socioeconomic problems. It remains a problem to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) due to its complicated pathophysiology.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Available treatment methods

Despite the findings and advances in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) research, the pathophysiology of IBS is still poorly understood with no definitive biomarker, thereby hampering the development of effective therapies for IBS. Currently available treatment for IBS can be broadly classified into pharmacological therapies and other interventions, such as dietary and lifestyle modifications.

There are various pharmacological treatments for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), including 5-HT-receptor modulating agents, antispasmodics, probiotics and antidiarrheal agents. While some have been found to be effective, they are not uniformly effective across all patients. There are also potential risks of adverse effects and substantial financial burden associated with the use of pharmacological treatments.

The pathogenesis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is still unclear, but a dysregulation of the brain-gut axis is thought to play a critical role in the disturbance of gastrointestinal function. Found in both the Central Nervous System and the gastrointestinal tract, Serotonin is a major neurotransmitter involved in the brain-gut interaction. Elevated or reduced levels of Serotonin have been implicated with diarrhea-predominant or constipation-predominant IBS, respectively.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Treatment with Medical Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy recommended for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Researches confirm that Acupuncture and Moxibustion significantly reduce abdominal pain, diarrhea and the ratio of abnormal stools.

From the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, the brain-gut axis represents the interaction between the Shen (mind) and the Spleen. The Spleen is responsible for digesting food and generating energy for the whole body. Common manifestations of Spleen deficiency include abdominal pain, loose stools or constipation and fatigue. Spleen deficiency is the most common syndrome associated with the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Another important treatment principle for IBS is regulating the Shen (mind). A disturbance in Shen or mental/emotional problems can also cause a problem in the Spleen.

The close relationship between the Spleen and the Shen is also demonstrated by studies showing the high prevalence of depression and anxiety among IBS patients compared to the healthy population. Therefore, it is important to address both the Spleen and Shen in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with Medical Acupuncture.

The researchers have concluded that Acupuncture is both safe and effective.

You can read a  relevant study here