IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is also known as spastic colon. It is a motility disorder of the small and large intestine with the symptoms varying from person to person.
The symptoms of IBS include:
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Diarrhea alternating with constipation
- Mucus in stool
The IBS symptoms are seen aggravating by stress and eating and are eased by bowel movements.
Acupuncture is a healing practice that comes from traditional Chinese healing practice. It involves inserting hair like thin needles into the specific points in the body that are known to ease different symptoms in different health conditions. This releases blocked energy and corrects imbalances. There are certain acupuncture points that stimulate the body’s internal organs.
It can also be due to the needling of the acupuncture point stimulating the nervous system, releasing feel-good chemicals and hormones. This may lead to a reduction in pain, stress, and other symptoms.
Can Acupuncture Relieve IBS Symptoms?
Many studies have been done to find the ability of acupuncture to alleviate the symptoms of IBS, but have mixed results.
A study done on 230 adults found very little or no difference in symptoms between those who had been given acupuncture and those who were given a placebo treatment.(1) However, there was one more group that was given no needling treatment. The above two had more symptom relief than this third control group. This would indicate the positive results might be due to the placebo effect.
Another research concluded that acupuncture could only improve the quality of life in people with IBS. Also, an improvement in abdominal pain was seen(2)
Another study, when compared abdominal acupuncture to traditional western medicine, found acupuncture to be more effective in alleviating the symptoms such as diarrhea, pain, stool, bloating, and stool abnormality.(3)
Also, the people taking acupuncture have a mixed response. Some find it very effective while a few do not see any change in the symptoms.
Other Natural Ways To Treat IBS Symptoms
- Whether acupuncture treats IBS or not is not obvious, but there are surely certain other ways the symptoms can be managed.
- Identifying the triggers and avoiding them, play a major role in controlling the symptoms.
- Also, adding fiber-rich foods to the diet can prove to be helpful. It allows the intestine to work optimally and alleviate the symptoms such as gas, bloating, and pain. It also helps soften the stool and make it easier to pass.
- Increasing water intake also proves to be of help.
- As stress is another factor that leads to the IBS symptoms exercising and doing yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, and visualization would also be effective.
Acupuncture has an ability to alleviate the IBS symptoms but the researches have mixed results. Some find to be acupuncture to be effective to treat IBS symptoms while others don’t. The risk of acupuncture is little, so there is no harm in trying it. It is good to meet a licensed acupuncturist for the same. The procedure might require several visits to feel the change.
IBS affects the quality of life greatly. Therefore, if the alternative treatments are not proving to be of help it is good to consult a doctor for long term relief.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Classification and Types, Pathophysiology, Etiology, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Signs, Treatment, Investigations
- Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Dangerous?
- What to Take for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- Is Fiber Good for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- Is Alcohol Bad for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
- Best Beverages to Drink for Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Lifelong & How to Cope With it?