Digestive Disorders

What are digestive issues?

The basic function of the digestive system is to efficiently absorb water and nutrients and then eliminate waste products. It also has a protective function in that it minimizes damage from toxins and microbes in the diet.

The digestive tract starts from the mouth and goes all the way to the anus. Along the digestive tract, many organs are involved in digestion and absorption and removal.

The main organs in our digestive system consist of, tongue, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine and large intestine. Each organ or a combination of organs could develop disorders with different symptoms.  

Digestive disorders account for more than 10% of the work of GPs. yet this figure may still be inaccurate, as researches suggest that 41% of the UK population have never visited their doctor specifically to discuss their digestive problems.

Common digestive disorders and symptoms include:

  • IBS

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhoea  

  • Gallstone

  • Acid reflux

  • Stomach ache

  • Indigestion

  • heartburn

  • Nausea

  • Stomach ulcer

  • Mouth ulcer (cold sores)

  • Chronic/acute pancreatitis

  • Crohn’s disease

  • etc.

Image by JOSHUA COLEMAN

Think Twice: How the Gut's "Second Brain" Influences Mood

The scientist has found a sophisticated network of neurotransmitter in our guts, technically known as the enteric nervous system (ENS). This complex network consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut tract, which measures about nine meters end to end from the throat to the anus. It contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system that’s why it’s called the second brain.

Scientists learnt that about 90 per cent of the fibres in the primary visceral nerve (Vagus nerve), carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around.

according to this study, It was totally unexpected that the gut would regulate bone mass in our body to the extent that one could use this regulation to cure osteoporosis.

The enteric nervous system (ENS) uses more than 30% of neurotransmitters, just like the brain. In fact, 95% of the body's serotonin (our happy hormone) is found in the bowels. A big part of our emotions is probably influenced by the nerves in our gut. In some cases, the severe symptoms of depression are treated by stimulating the vagus nerves found in our guts. It may explain why, on a basic level, eating makes us feel good. That’s why it’s vitalt to look after our digestive system with a healthy diet, and naturopathic approaches as our guts do more than what we think.

Image by Frank Flores

Managing digestive issues and conventions medicine 

Digestive problems such as constipation, heartburn diarrhoea and bloating are very common and could be managed with lifestyle measures and eating habits. However, some of them may be persistent affecting your daily life.

NHS UK suggests avoiding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as aspirin if you have stomach ulcers or indigestion.

In one of the interesting findings, while serious ‘red flag’ symptoms of digestive problems are being managed by GPs confidently, the less serious but more common symptoms of digestive discomfort, such as bloating and flatulence, are areas where GPs would feel less confident when dealing with minor complaints.

Acupuncture for Digestive issues 

Digestive issues are one of the common issues seen in acupuncture clinics. Digestive problems cover a wide range of symptoms that is quite unique to each person. As a holistic medicine, Acupuncture looks at the wider picture to address the underlying cause. One of the strong pillars of Chinese medicine is dietary advice. After understanding your lifestyle and constitutional factor your acupuncturist can provide you with tailored dietary advice that is designed for you and your needs.

 

Several studies have shown Acupuncture is effective in a wide range of digestive issues including IBS, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, Crohn's disease, acid reflux, ulcerative colitis etc. That's why nowadays more people are consulting their acupuncturist to manage their symptoms.  

*For more information about the research on acupuncture and digestive issues click here, here and here.

Image by Artur Rutkowski

We have helped many people to reduce the severity of their symptomatic discomfort so we can help you to live a better and happier life. If you’d like to know about our unique approach or book your visit, please contact us so we can help you.