Treating IBS: East Versus West

acupuncture is better than drugs for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Of the many disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common, affecting as many as 15% of all people.

What’s the most effective way of treating it, though, the western pharmaceutical way or the natural eastern way?

Sixty-one people with IBS of the kind that causes increased diarrhoea were given either a western treatment or an eastern treatment. The western treatment consisted of 50mg of pinaverium bromide three times a day; the eastern treatment consisted of acupuncture every other day. Both treatments lasted for four weeks.

The IBS symptom severity score improved significantly in both groups, but it improved significantly more in the acupuncture group. Scores for abdominal pain, abdominal distension, diarrhoea, poor stool output and stool abnormality were all significantly more improved in the acupuncture group. Acupuncture was effective for 86.7% of the people versus only 64.3% efficacy in the drug group. 70% of the acupuncture were in the “cured and remarkable effective rate” group compared to only 35.7% of the drug group.

The researchers concluded that abdominal acupuncture is more effective for IBS with diarrhoea than western medication.

Zhongguo Zhen Jiu 2017;37(12):1265-8

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For much more on treating irritable bowel syndrome, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia.

Linda Woolven is a Registered acupuncturist (and Master Herbalist). She is a member of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Ontario. For help with irritable bowel syndrome, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven now.

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