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Soule Health Care

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Portland OR, 97239


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Newsletter Archive

Unreliable Colons

September 29, 2011

It is estimated that up to 15% of the American population suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which is a disorder of the large intestine characterized by abdominal pain and distension, relief of pain with bowel movements, loose or frequent bowel movements with pain, or diarrhea alternating with constipation. Other possible symptoms are flatulence, nervous indigestion, spastic colitis, and varying degrees of anxiety or depression. Even mild cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be debilitating, if only because the person who has it must stay close to a bathroom. IBS can lead to weight loss, anemia, de-hydration, malnutrition and fatigue due to frequent bowel movements.

Naturopathic treatment is particularly effective for IBS. It works by treating the underlying cause of the illness with harmless methods, which improve a person's overall health in addition to healing the illness itself. The first and most important therapy for IBS is proper medical nutrition. Increasing dietary fiber through bran, whole grains, fruits and vegetables will help absorption of gastric juices and nutrition from food, and provide bulk for firm bowel movements. Diagnosing and eliminating food allergies is essential in reducing reactivity to foods in the intestines. Reducing or eliminating refined sugar has also been shown to improve IBS symptoms dramatically.

Most people with IBS experience an increase in their symptom severity when mental or emotional stressors, such as anxiety, hostility, depression and/or insomnia, increase. Diet therapy can be very effective for reducing physical symptoms, but it does not address the mental or emotional correlations. This is why I recommend Five Element Acupuncture.

Five Element Acupuncture treats the body, mind and emotions simultaneously. It is a comprehensive treatment method, which supports the entire digestive system, and the psychological factors which contribute to IBS. Consider Violet, a woman who had severe abdominal bloating and pain and up to 20 loose bowel movements per day. Diet therapy improved her symptoms 100%, until she spoke with her employer, when her symptoms would return in full force. Her boss was a source of great anxiety for her as he was verbally abusive and unappreciative of her.

Part of Five Element diagnosis is to decipher the source of any psychological weaknesses and to understand the coping skills that an individual adopts to deal with stress factors. Violet needed her digestive organs strengthened as well as her psychological boundaries. After a series of Five Element Acupuncture treatments, she reports normal bowel function, the ability to maintain healthy boundaries for the first time, and is intolerant to being verbally abused. Her relationships with her boss and with other family members have greatly improved as well.

If you have symptoms of IBS, consider naturopathic nutritional therapy. If you have tried diet therapy and know that mental and emotional symptoms correlate with your symptom severity, call the Center for a Five Element diagnosis and treatment plan.

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