When Your Bowels Are Irritable

There are many digestive issues today. Most start in the stomach (whether symptomatic or not), and many also involve inadequacies in pancreas, liver and/or gallbladder function. But the one that affects daily life more than any other, number-wise, is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) affects 10-15% of adults in the U.S., and 5-10% of the World’s population. It is the most common reason for doctor’s visits. When your life is wrapped up in looking for the closest bathroom, no matter where you are, it can put a damper in your lifestyle.

Symptoms of IBS include abdominal pain, especially when it’s time to have a bowel movement, loose stools or diarrhea, constipation or alternating constipation and diarrhea, both worsened by stress or excitement, bloating (may be worse around time of menstrual cycle), the feeling of an incomplete bowel movement, stools containing undigested foods (other than corn) and/or a whitish mucus).

While there is no really agreed upon reason why you have IBS, it is agreed that it is generally multi-factorial. Diet, lifestyle, stress and other factors can lead to digestive insufficiencies that ultimately lead to or aggravate IBS.

However, if you are suffering now, you want solutions now. The fastest way I know to resolve your digestive issues is with acupuncture and a nutritional and supplement protocol designed specifically to you and your underlying health mechanisms. While acupuncture studies reveal the effectiveness of acupuncture for IBS, they really are short-sighted. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is more involved than the studies can allow for. When the whole picture of the individual is taken together – all the little puzzle pieces and not just the IBS label – more information is accrued and adjusted for the individuality of the patient. Which means the acupuncture points, the herbs, and the nutritional recommendations, may vary drastically from one person to the next, despite all having the same disease. In actual practice, we get magnificent results in most cases. But that is because we are treating individually with a unique set of health issues.

The most important aspect of delving into the depths of the reason for the altered function is “WHY?” “Why is their gut misbehaving?” “Which other organs may be co-conspirators in the dysfunction?”, “What may the person be doing/or not doing that is setting the stage for this malfunction?” In what other ways is the body trying to tell us what is wrong (other seemingly unrelated as well as related symptoms)? “Why?”

As an acupuncturist, we enjoy piecing the puzzle together by digging deeper into the “Why’s” and getting good results with everything going on at the same time, and not just treating the symptoms (though of course they generally do get resolved). The joy is also in watching our patients find their own joy in life again, unencumbered by annoyances like knowing where the closest bathroom is!

©2022 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling

Dr. Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Dr. Carling is a “Health Detective,” she looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Dr. Carling considers herself a “professional student” – she has attended more than 600 post-secondary education courses related to health and healing. Dr. Carling gives lectures here in the U.S. and internationally and has been noted as the “Doctor’s Doctor”. When other healthcare practitioners hit a roadblock when treating their patients nutritionally, Dr. Carling is who they call. Dr. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’ Alene clinic.

Medical/Health Disclaimer:

The information provided in this article or podcast should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this article or podcast. Readers/listeners should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the author, but readers/listeners who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.

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