Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine for
Digestive Disorders Beit Shemesh:
There are many conditions that fall under the category of digestive health disorders. These disorders are a result of dysfunction in any one of the organs of the digestive tract, and they will be discussed in more detail below.
The GI tract starts from your mouth and ends with the anus, and includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine along the way. As well, the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas are considered solid organs of the digestive system. Just to give you an idea, if you were to stretch out the entire GI tract of an adult it would be over 20 feet long.
Your digestion is an intricate system where your body breaks down food, and absorbs nutrients vital to sustaining your life. It is also where waste products are excreted from the body.
There are many relevant factors to ensure proper function of your digestive system, and we are learning more and more as time goes on.
Whether it is understanding the effects of stress on your digestion, the relationship with your digestion and your immune system, gut bacteria or flora, the quality of foods available to us today, or one of many other factors; we can see clearly see that these are complex issues, and that they are affecting many people through one mechanism or another.
Common Digestive Health Disorders
The following is a list of some of the more common digestive health disorders we see in our clinic. These conditions are often difficult to manage on your own, and affect the quality of a person’s life in many different ways.
This condition is an inflammation of the stomach lining.
Gastritis can be caused by medications, excessive vomiting, over consumption of alcohol, stress, H. Pylori bacteria, infections, and bile reflux.
Untreated gastritis can lead to blood loss, and increased chances of developing stomach cancer.
There are many possible symptoms associated with gastritis. Some examples are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bloating, and indigestion.
GERD or Acid Reflux:
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD is a lower esophageal disorder affecting a ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach, known as a sphincter muscle.
This condition occurs when the contents from your stomach flow backwards into your esophagus, leading to symptoms of heart burn or indigestion.
Factors associated with GERD include consuming chocolate, alcohol, fried or fatty foods, coffee, smoking, obesity, pregnancy, and hiatal hernia.
Acid reflux often feels like a burning chest pain sometimes accompanied with pressure in the chest. This pain is often worse after eating, and can last for a couple of hours.
These ulcers can occur in the stomach or the small intestine. A stomach ulcer is also called a gastric ulcer; where as an ulcer in the upper part of the small intestine is known as a duodenal ulcer.
A peptic ulcer is defined as a hole or break in the protective lining of the stomach or duodenum. This area then comes into contact with acids and enzymes and manifests with a burning pain.
There are a number of factors associated with these ulcers, the main one being an infection from the bacteria called H. Pylori.
Excessive stomach acid is related to peptic ulcers. Some factors which result in excessive stomach acid production are stress, poor dietary choices, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
The overuse of medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen also play a role in the development of ulcers.
Nausea and Vomiting:
These are actually symptoms of other diseases or illnesses. The causes of nausea and vomiting can range from food poisoning and infections, to morning sickness from pregnancy, to gall bladder disease, or tumors. There are a many other possible causes for nausea and vomiting as well, and a proper diagnosis is required before treating and eliminating these symptoms.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a condition characterized by alternating diarrhea and constipation, bloating and abdominal pain. IBS is two times more likely to occur in women than men. Stress, along with certain foods are triggers for people suffering with IBS.
IBS is two times more likely to occur in women than men.
Is characterized by inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract.
Is characterized by inflammation and ulcers in the innermost lining of your large intestine and rectum.
Symptoms associated with both forms of IBD are diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, and possibly bloody stool. All of these symptoms tend to be severe or debilitating.
Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis:
Diverticulosis occurs when small pouches form in your digestive tract. If these pouches become inflamed then it is called diverticulitis. One possible cause for the formation of these pouches is low fiber intake. Fiber creates bulk, which helps your colon remove waste from your body.
In the absence of fiber, your colon is forced to work harder to do its job, and as a result may lead to bulging at week points along the way. Bacteria can grow and collect in these pouches, and this can lead to inflammatory state termed diverticulitis.
These are swollen veins that can be located internally in your lower rectum or externally in your anus. Typically the only sign of an internal hemorrhoid is bleeding. External hemorrhoids can also cause bleeding, but are more likely to be painful because there are more pain sensing nerve’s located in the anus.
There seems to be a familial link with hemorrhoids. As well, being overweight, pregnant, or sitting large amounts of the day increases your chances of getting hemorrhoids.
Any activity that causes large amounts of pressure or strain, such as heavy lifting can be a cause for hemorrhoids.
Consuming large amounts of water and fiber is helpful to prevent hemorrhoids from occurring, as they promote healthy bowel movements, and limit excessive sitting and strain on the toilet.
Utilizing Herbs and Acupuncture for Digestive Health Disorders:
Many digestive conditions are inflammatory in nature. In Chinese medicine we call inflammation “heat or fire” depending on the severity of the symptoms.
These patients require herbs that “cool the heat”, or bring down inflammation. Then diet and lifestyle changes will ideally keep things balanced and functioning well.
Yet other patients can suffer with digestive issues because of weakness or deficiency, and require a totally different approach to treatment. These patients require herbs that “tonify” or strengthen the digestive system.
And there are others who suffer from “stagnation”, which is generally caused by stress or overeating, and may also present with heat or inflammation at the same time.
In Chinese medicine we call inflammation “heat or fire” depending on the severity of the symptoms.
As you can see, it’s critical to get a proper diagnosis that underlies your symptoms in order to receive the right treatment. We are less concerned with the disease name, and more concerned with understanding the “pattern”- or the “root” of the problem.
Digestive health is a big topic. High stress levels, poor food choices, auto-immune diseases, heavy use of medications, alcohol, and illicit drugs are all prevalent factors contributing all these serious disorders listed above.
Digestive disorders can be difficult to treat with Western medicine, and it is quite possible you have been left with no answers for your specific issues.
If you’re seeking a different approach to regulating your gut, Chinese medicine can offer some time tested approaches that may work well for you.
Please contact us to book an appointment with us, to see if we can help.