Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder and it is a chronic condition featuring recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort associated with disturbed bowel function and bloating. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): is a common chronic functional bowel disorder. The symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, which is often associated with diarrhoea, constipation or bloating. Bowel habit is changed often with increased passing stool frequency and passage of mucus. IBS affects about 20% adult population globally and their quality of life is affected.
The exact causes of IBS are not clear. The possible causes include intestinal motility and intestinal smooth muscle functional disturbance, visceral paresthesia, alterations in the brain-gut axis, psychological factors, gastrointestinal hormones and intestinal infection. Some evidences suggested that neurohormonal and immune responses to physiological stimulation or psychological stress etc are possible risk factors.
This condition is not life threatening, but it does affect patient quality of life. Acupuncture is used to treat IBS and there were many researches showing its effectiveness, though there was different opinion on this.
There was a case study about acupuncture treatment on IBS published in Chinese acupuncture journal. The researchers compared trimebutine maleate, a commonly used drug for IBS. Two acupuncture points ST25 and BL25 were used for daily acupuncture treatment. The symptoms including duration and frequency of abdominal pain, morbidity of abnormal stool, defecation abnormality, stool mucus and score of bloating were assessed. The result showed that there was significant change for both groups which suggested that both acupuncture and the drug are effective on IBS. The effective rate for acupuncture group is higher than for the drug group which indicates that acupuncture was more effective compared to the drug.
Li H et al compared the effect of acupuncture with medicine for diarrhea-predominant IBS. 70 patients with IBS were allocated into two groups acupuncture group and medicine group. In acupuncture group, patients received acupuncture 3-4 treatment per week for 4 weeks. The points selected were Tianshu (ST 25), Zusanli (ST36), Shangjuxu (ST37), Sanyinjiao (SP6), Taichong (LR3) etc. The electric stimulation was added at bilateral ST25. Pinaverium (Dicetel) was given in medicine group. The clinical symptom score and IBS syndrome quality of life (IBS-QOL) score were assessed before and after treatment. The efficacy and the recurrence rate were assessed. Result showed that the symptom score and IBS-QOL score were all improved significantly after treatment in both groups. The efficacy in acupuncture group was greater. 3 month follow up showed that recurrence rate in acupuncture group was lower than medicine group.
Lu YH and Tang XD also showed that acupuncture is effective in 21 patients with IBS diarrhea. The patients received acupuncture 2-3 times a week. 8 treatments made up for one course. Symptoms after acupuncture treatment significantly reduced compared with that before the treatment. The total effective rate was 52.4% after first course and 90.5% after second course.
Sun JH et al also showed effectiveness of acupuncture in 63 patients with diarrhea predominant IBS. They showed acupuncture treatment reduced the severity and frequency of symptoms including abdominal pain, diarrhea, abdominal distension etc. They also showed that the quicker initiation of effect, the more evident clinical improvement in symptoms along the increase in treatment duration as well as the more significant elevation of QOL.
Chao and Zhang analised data from 1966 to 2013 to study the effect of acupuncture on IBS. There were 5 out of 6 high quality studies found. They found acupuncture was beneficial for patients with IBS though further studies are needed to confirm the conclusion because there were only a few studies met the criteria.
Chao and Zhang World J Gastroenterol (2014) 20:1871-1877
Shi ZM et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2011) 31:607-9
Li H Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2012) 32:679-82
Lu YH and Tang XD Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2011) 31:975-7
Sun JH et al Chin J Integr Med (2011) 17:780-5
Welcome to my blog, discover acupuncture with Dr Maggie Ju
Qualified as a medical doctor in Western medicine in China with a Medical degree from Beijing, China and a PhD degree from the UK. Many year research and clinical experiences. This blog is for information only.
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