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Irritable Bowel Syndrome

common coldIrritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. The main symptoms include abdominal pain, food intolerance, diarrhea and constipation. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, often disabling sufferers and having a major impact on daily life. There is no known cure for IBS in Western medicine. The main way to treat it is to reduce its effects by changing diet and lifestyle.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does recognise IBS but has a more individualised diagnosis system. As with all disease in TCM, at the core of every problem there is a root cause. In this case the root cause is an imbalance of the digestive system, resulting in hypersensitivity of the gut. Some IBS sufferers find their symptoms worsen with cold foods while for others hotter foods are not tolerated. These simple clues can aid a practitioner to correctly diagnose specifically where the imbalance is, so as to provide a more accurate treatment.

Food in TCM can be divided into 5 categories: hot, cold, warm, cool and neutral. Below are a few common examples:

BananaCheeseRiceGingerDeep fried foods
CucumberGreen TeaGrapesCoffeeCurry

As mentioned, ingesting certain types of food may aggravate the body and make the symptoms of IBS much worse. For example, eating a combination of duck and spinach can cause diarrhea. In this case the individual is said to have excessive cold in the body.

Changing your diet can relieve discomfort. However, the imbalance in the digestive system will still need to be addressed. A course of herbal medicine and acupuncture is highly effective in rebalancing the system resulting in healthy digestion of all types of foods.

For more information on this subject, or if you would like to discuss your own personal problem feel free to write me an email at

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