Treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Acupuncture & Herbs
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common GI disorder characterized by persistent or intermittent
abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and changes in defecation habits. Laxatives, antidiarrheals and/or antispasmodics are used to treat the symptoms depending on the pattern.
Acupuncture is a beneficial alternative treatment for functional gastrointestinal disorders, including IBS. Studies in China have shown that acupuncture is more effective in relieving IBS symptoms and causes fewer adverse events than many antispasmodics. It’s thought that acupuncture affects the brain-gut axis, gastrointestinal motility, and visceral hypersensitivity.
The type of IBS pattern guides the acupuncture points selection. The following acupoints are used most frequently: Tianshu (ST 25), Zhongwan (CV 12), Guanyuan (CV 4), Zusanli (ST 36), Shangjuxu (ST 37), Taichong (LR 3), Sanyinjiao (SP 6), and Neiting (ST 44).
Several Chinese herbal formulas may be effective in managing IBS-C and IBS-D:
Liu Jun Zi Tang
Si Ni San
Tong Xie Yao Fang
Xiao Chai Hu Tang
Xiao Yao San
Liang, S. B., Han, M., Cheng, H. J., Zhang, Q. Y., Zhang, N. W., Jia, B. Y., Robinson, N., & Liu, J. P. (2022). Chinese herbal formula Tongxie Yaofang for diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: study protocol for a randomized, multiple-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Trials, 23(1), 226. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-022-06142-x Qi, L. Y., Yang, J. W., Yan, S. Y., She, Y. F., Hu, H., Li, Y., Chi, L. L., Wu, B. Q., Tu, J. F., Wang, L. Q., & Liu, C. Z. (2022). Effect of acupuncture for diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome: study protocol for a randomized clinical trial. Trials, 23(1), 711. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-022-06639-5 Shi, Y. Z., Tao, Q. F., Qin, D., Chen, M., Yu, S. G., & Zheng, H. (2022). Acupuncture vs. antispasmodics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: An adjusted indirect treatment comparison meta-analysis. Frontiers in physiology, 13, 1001978. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.1001978