Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder that takes a variety of different forms, including chronic abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, and altered bowel habits.
It’s the most common functional digestive disorder treated by GPs, with 22% of the UK population suffering IBS. Women are 2 or 3 times more likely than men to develop symptoms.
Many IBS suffers seek relief from acupuncture.
IBS Triggers and Symptoms
IBS is often triggered in adolescence or early adulthood, and it could be caused by emotional stress, use of laxatives, a low-fibre diet, or a bout of infectious diarrhoea.
IBS is not a structural problem, meaning there is no anatomical change in the body. While the exact cause of the disease is unclear, it appears that people who suffer from IBS have hypersensitive sensory nerves in the bowel that overreact when the bowel is stretched. This causes cramping, pain, sudden bouts of diarrhoea or constipation, and flatulence. Eating can trigger symptoms, although stress is thought to be the biggest culprit.
How Acupuncture Eases the Symptoms of IBS
Acupuncture helps to relieve the symptoms of IBS in the following ways:
- Relieves abdominal pain by stimulating the release of endorphins, naturally produced chemicals that block pain.
- Regulates the motility of the digestive tract.
- Raises the sensory threshold of the gut – most IBS suffers have a lowered threshold of bowel pain and distension.
- Helps to relieve stress. Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, stimulating colon spasms, which result in abdominal discomfort. Acupuncture activates the opposing parasympathetic system, promoting relaxation.
- Reduces anxiety and depression. The symptoms of IBS can trigger a cycle of anxiety and pain, with the more embarrassing symptoms leading to depression. Acupuncture increases the brain’s production of serotonin and endorphins, helping to combat anxiety and depression.
To find out more about how acupuncture can treat IBS or to book a treatment, contact Acupuncture That Works today on 0800 051 76 88 or use our contact form.