Gastrointestinal diseases refer to diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract, namely the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum, and the accessory organs of digestions, the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Common digestive problems include:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
- Irritable bowel’s syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic gastritis, chronic enteritis and gastroenteritis
Symptoms may include bloating, chronic constipation or diarrhoea, gas, stomach pain, and stomach cramps.
Functional disorders are the most common problems affecting the colon and rectum, and include constipation and IBS. The primary causes for functional disorders include: stress, low fibre diet, lack of exercise, excess intake of dairy products, taking antacid medicines containing calcium or aluminium, overusing laxatives that, over time, weaken the bowel muscles, long term taking certain medicines such as antidepressants, iron tablets, and strong painkillers etc.
Scientific research supports the value of using Chinese medicine for GI complaints. Several clinical studies show that acupuncture and moxibustion increase the D-Xylose excretory rate significantly. This is an index of the absorption function of the intestines which is compromised in patients with chronic gastritis, enteritis or peptic ulcers.
There are several types of colitis, conditions that cause an inflammation of the bowel. These include: Infectious colitis; Ulcerative colitis; Crohn’s disease; Ischemic colitis; Radiation colitis (after radiotherapy).
Colitis causes diarrhoea, rectal bleeding, abdominal cramps, and urgency (frequent and immediate need to empty the bowels). Treatment depends on the diagnosis, which is made by colonoscopy and biopsy.
This disorder is an inflammatory disease of the intestines that most commonly affects the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. It is a contiguous expanse of inflamed tissue that may spread deeply into affected regions. Western medicine treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids and immune-suppression. They may provide symptomatic relief, but prolonged use of these medicines may cause side effects and will not cure the condition. In severe cases, a patient may need surgery to remove parts of the intestines.
To date, there is no satisfactory treatment in western medicine to control such a condition. Thus, the alternative treatments become an important option for the doctors around the world. New research confirms that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) relieve chronic ulcerative colitis.TCM is a multifaceted healing modality that includes bodywork therapy, like acupuncture, as well as the extensive use of herbal combinations and dietary recommendations. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have long been used to treat these conditions and often have stronger results due to the nature of the way they view and treat these conditions within the TCM diagnostic framework (i.e. treating the root causes instead of the symptoms). Traditional prescriptions usually contain ingredients that fortify the spleen, replenish Qi, clear heat and expel dampness. They are effective in resolving inflammation, regulating the immune system and conditioning the bowel.
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