IBS is a very common condition, between 10-20percent of people have IBS symptoms at some time. More than 80% of sufferers are women. IBS is seen as an umbrella or blanket diagnosis for symptoms which can be ill defined or changeable, but it can be described medically as over or underactive contractions of the large intestine, due to excessive parasympathetic stimulation.
Symptoms include pain, flatulence, bloating and sudden bouts of diarrhoea or constipation. Accompanying symptoms can be irritability, tiredness and poor appetite. Sufferers can feel generally wound up but also at times dragged down. There may be pain on the sides or spreading through the whole abdomen. Levels of pain may vary from a dull dragging ache to severe spastic pain.
Acupuncture works to relieve these symptoms, gently rectify long term digestive and improve motility in the abdomen. Points to reduce stress/irritation and general calming points are chosen which will address any long term repressed emotions such as resentment frustration. Also specific points are chosen which strengthen the stomach and spleen and reduce any dampness which is often present.
This will give the patient more energy, reduce heavy sluggishness and reduce the tendency towards worry and anxiety. Relaxation therapies such as mindfulness, CBT and meditation are invaluable as this is a long term pattern requiring a long term approach and understanding of the root causes.