Did you know that one in five adults in the U.S. have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? That’s 47 million people suffering from abdominal cramps and many other symptoms, several days a month, for months on end. Some people just have to watch their diet, but many are using drugs that have side effects that make them more ill. According to a recent study, Acupuncture may be a viable alternative.
IBS is chronic and is not considered curable. Once you have it, it’s not expected that you’ll get rid of it – the focus is simply on managing the symptoms, which include abdominal pain and discomfort, diarrhea, constipation and other digestive and intestinal problems, as well as heart palpitations, sexual problems, sleeping problems, backaches, headaches and fatigue.
The symptoms are managed with exercise and diet – no caffeine or alcohol and severely limiting fatty foods, dairy, fruit, beans and cabbage, lots of fiber – and, sometimes, with drugs. The drugs are primarily to address the anxiety, depression, sleeping problems. So, the person has stomach cramps and diarrhea, but he’s on antidepressants.
It’s not surprising that people are looking to alternative medicine to address their IBS. And they’re getting results with Acupuncture.
The study involved 233 patients who had IBS. They had had it for an average of 13 years, and their symptoms were moderate to severe. Of the total, 116 patients had 10 weekly Acupuncture sessions as well as the usual care. The remaining 117 had the usual care, but no Acupuncture.
The results were measured every three months, for one year.
After the first three months – two weeks after the Acupuncture group completed their 10 treatments – 49 percent of the group that received Acupuncture and the usual care had improved significantly. Of those who received only the usual care, only 31 percent had improved.
The improvement lasted throughout the period of the study.
Are you one of the 42 million people with irritable bowel syndrome? Do you know someone who is? Bring them into their local acupuncturist for help.
Source: National Institutes of Health, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23095376