Inflammatory bowel diseases encompasses a wide range of symptoms that include:
As the symptoms of IBD can be similar to other conditions such as colon cancer, colon polyps or other forms of intestinal blockage, it is important to have a medical specialist specifically rule out other diseases through tests such as cat scans or colonoscopy.
Traditional western medicine may utilize a variety of medications to reduce inflammation as well as antibiotics to treat bacteria that may play a role in IBD. The challenge is that when antibiotics are stopped, often there is a rebound effect of the bacteria increasing to produce more severe symptoms.
In the Chinese medicine system, custom herbs are given not only to check the bacteria that may play in the inflammatory aspect of the condition, but also to strengthen the immunity system, lower and upper gastrointestinal tracts, and detoxify the body.
Often there will be a period of adjustment (usually up to 2 weeks) after a person has stopped traditional antibiotics, where symptoms may worsen during the period where the body is acclimating to being off antibiotics and on herbs, because it takes time for herbs to gradually work to restore balance.
Herbs need to be taken daily and at full dosage for 3-6 months to see marked improvement.
Changes in diet and exercise might also be necessary. Often, individuals with IBD may develop lactose intolerance where their symptoms may worsen when they consume yogurt, cheese, milk and other dairy products.
I often advise my clients to eliminate damp foods (such as high fat foods and dairy products), and emphasize the use of rice instead of wheat products. Often these changes are enough to create shifts over a period of months towards a more balanced intestinal tract.
Taking a probiotic such as Metagenics Ultra Flora Plus (dairy free variety), which delivers a high concentration of acidophilus in a digestable capsule format, and taking a multivitamin supplement are strategies that can help restore some intestinal flora and restore nutritional balance as often with IBD some nutritional deficiencies may occur and these imbalances can then exacerbate the inflammation of the bowels.
If clients are eliminating dairy, it is important to take a calcium citrate supplement or drink orange juice that has been supplemented with calcium in addition to eating other calcium rich sources such as small amounts of tofu (as soy tends to also be damp in nature but can be made less damp by cooking it with ginger and a small amount of soy sauce).
Daily walks of thirty minutes or sessions of qi gong movement (minimum of 20 minutes each day) along with qi gong abdominal self massage can also play a role in increasing circulation to the bowels to help prevent stagnation and spasms.
Warm packs over the lower abdomen (not electric heat pads) and the topical application of essential oils that contain cinnamon and grapefruit extract, can also be helpful in breaking up stagnation to relieve inflammation.
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