Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon). Irritable bowel syndrome commonly causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation and mucus in the stool.

Stress is the product of modern life. Chinese medical practitioners believe that the liver regulates the Qi flow of the body. Long term stress and sudden emotional trauma can lead to the stagnation of the Qi flow and cause all the symptoms of IBS. If a person’s spleen energy is weakened by overwork, poor diet, insufficient rest, excessive worry, then diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating will be accompanied. The liver Qi Stasis and spleen Qi Deficiency can generate Damp-Heat in the body, thus producing mucus in the stool.

The basic Chinese principle for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome is to relieve the Liver Qi Stasis, strengthen the Spleen Qi, and eliminate the Damp-Heat in the body. The Chinese formula “Tong Xie Yao Fang” is commonly prescribed for the treatment of IBS. Acupuncture treatment on the energy points of the liver, spleen and big intestine would be selected by the trained doctor to harmonize the liver and spleen Qi

The allergy or intolerance of food, leading to irritable bowel syndrome is not yet clearly understood, but certain foods have been reported to worsen the condition, such as chocolate, spices, fats, fruits, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, milk, carbonated beverages, alcohol, and should be avoided if possible.

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome can also benefit by doing meditation and practicing other stress-reduction techniques.

It is advisable before receiving Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture treatment, to have a thorough physical examination by a physician to rule out other causes of the symptoms such as chronic colitis, colon polyps, gastrointestinal tumors and other diseases.