Are you having difficulty emptying your bowel? Are you straining to pass stool or passing less stool than normal? Are you feeling bloated with loss of appetite and sometimes pain and cramping in the abdomen? If so, you could be suffering from constipation or IBS. Difficulty emptying your bowel or alternating between constipation and diarrhea can be defined as IBS.
What causes IBS and constipation?
IBS is related to abnormal function of the digestive system, the main symptoms are abdominal cramps, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, or gas. According to Mayoclinic.org, IBS itself will not increase your chances of developing cancer in your digestive system.
When stool passes slowly through the digestive tract, the colon will absorb all the water resulting in solid feces. If your diet lacks sufficient fiber or water, it could result in constipation. By itself, constipation is not life-threatening but it could cause the accumulation of toxin in your gut. There are different causes of constipation such as physical inactivity, the intake of certain medications such as sleeping pills and anti-histamine, hypothyroid conditions, sluggish colon, menopause, aging, changes in routine such as travel, different types of food, and overuse of laxatives. The problem of constipation can resolve with lifestyle changes, controlled use of laxatives, relaxing during defecation, or medical intervention if the problem persists. Holistic medicine or acupuncture also has been found to be effective.
Long-term using laxatives can cause a sluggish colon. Once you stop using the laxative, your constipation will get worse, furthermore, you can have diarrhea with increasing usage of laxative, leading to malnutrition.
Why do women tend to develop IBS or constipation after menopause?
Serotonin can help regulate bowel movement. When women go through menopause, the serotonin, GABA and other relaxing hormones are decreasing dramatically. The stool tends to stay in your colon for a longer time, leading to constipation and gas pain. Also, the lower level of serotonin can lead to depression and slow movement of colon. Even you try to eat a lot of fibers, the movement of the colon can be very slow and the bowel movement is incomplete, causing gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. After menopause, all the digestive enzyme is not as effective as before, leading to acid reflux or indigestion.
How acupuncture can help constipation and IBS?
Acupuncture can regulate the movement of your whole digestive system including the stomach, small intestine, colon, pancreas, and even gall bladder. Acupuncture can bring energy to your digestive system to improve its function instead of just inducing bowel movement. Acupuncture helps your body produce more serotonin and endorphin to make your colon move regularly. Menopausal women have more frequent constipation, IBS and acid reflux even though they can eat a perfect diet due to hormone changes. Acupuncture can have instant results, improving their digestion, allowing women to improve their mood to better fight anxiety, depression, and hot flushes, by increasing their level of serotonin, dopamine, and progesterone. On the other hand, if women take SSRI, their stomachs can empty too fast, they tend to eat more and gain weight. Treating the root cause is the key to become healthier and happier.
Acupuncture and the Digestive System
Acupuncture has been shown to be really effective in treating problems with the digestive system. When the bodily functions are improved and the blocked qi is released, it has been shown to improve digestive function. Clinical trials have been conducted to determine the efficacy of treating constipation with acupuncture. Patients with constipation were treated at 8 fixed acupuncture points over a period of 4 weeks with 12 sessions. At the end of it, there was a successful outcome when results were measured using weekly defecation frequency, spontaneous complete bowel movement, Bristol stool scale score, and constipation assessment scale score. Research studies published in BMC Complement Alternative Medicine in June 2018 titled “Efficacy and Safety of Acupuncture For Functional Constipation” has clearly shown the efficacy of acupuncture in treating constipation with improvements being maintained for as many as 4 weeks after the trial too.