By Beverly Mc Govern Dip. Ac., Lic. Ac., ITEC., IFR., Dip. Chinese Herbs, Dip. Nutritional Advisor,
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
This syndrome is a very upsetting and common condition. Also known as Spastic Colon. It occurs because the muscles that lie in the gut or intestines don’t function properly causing irritation, spasm and pain. Erratic contractions of the wall of the intestines causes normal peristalsis movement (wave like action that propels food through the digestive system) to become irregular. The illeocaecal valve (valve in the bowel) is also prone to spasmodic attacks. Bowels may not empty properly and faeces can be like rabbit like pellets. In severe cases blood may also be seen in the bowel motion/stool.
The symptoms are Diarrhoea, Constipation, Flatulence, Cramps & Spasms, Irritation and Inflammation of the intestines, Low back pain and Haemorrhoids. There is no known organic reason for this condition but the following can affect it: Stress, Diet, Lifestyle, Food Intolerances and Nutritional Deficiencies.
What Can help it?
I would recommend finding out if there are any food intolerance or vitamin and mineral deficiencies by simple testing. The tests are pain free and provide instant results. But lifestyle also must be examined. Stress over a long period of time can cause a person to be deficient in certain B Vitamins. If there is ongoing diarrhoea then a person may well be magnesium and other minerals deficient. Inflammation and irritation in the intestines responds well to specific Chinese Herbs.
For severe constipation it is very important that the food is chewed well, that sufficient water is being consumed and that regular healthy eating habits are adhered to. A healthy lifestyle is also paramount. This should include enough sleep and regular activity eg: walking, swimming, etc. Stress can be another big factor in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and it is important to address it. This may involve lifestyle changes, specific acupuncture treatments, nutritional supplementation, stress management and dietary changes.
Where there are food intolerances, a food exclusion diet would usually be recommended. That is where an intolerance test pin points certain offending foods and they are then excluded from the diet for a short period of time. In my experience 80% of Irritable Bowel Syndrome cases are food related to some degree. IBS is no longer a condition that you have to suffer in silence. It can be helped.