There are a number of benefits that can potentially be gained by using acupuncture for IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome. It can be very effective for relieving the physical symptoms of the disease, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Acupuncture can also be used to ease the psychological problems that often accompany IBS, such as stress, anxiety, or nervousness, as well as any insomnia that may result from these conditions. Also, the benefits of this effect may be twofold, as IBS can not only cause stress, but attacks can also be triggered by stress.
One of the main reasons to use acupuncture for IBS is to help ease the physical symptoms, which can lead to discomfort, pain, and embarrassment in sufferers. IBS patients typically suffer from extreme, frequent bouts of constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of the two. They also often experience gas and bloating, abdominal pain, and cramps during an attack. Some studies and reports from many individual patients indicate that acupuncture, done correctly by an experienced practitioner, can reduce both the pain and the actual physical reactions caused by IBS.
Another of the potential benefits of using acupuncture for IBS is a reduction in psychological symptoms that are often the result of the condition. Many patients with IBS complain of feeling anxious or nervous, possibly due to the ongoing potential for an attack, the discomfort they suffer during an attack, or the possibility of social embarrassment as a result of the disease. They may also have difficulty sleeping because of the distress they feel. Using acupuncture can help rid patients of the stress caused by the disease, in turn reducing feelings of anxiety and improving sleep.
Not only can the use of acupuncture for IBS help relieve stress, anxiety, and other negative psychological effects caused by the disease, but its relief of them can also help reduce the chances of another attack. While the underlying causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unknown, one of the many factors that has been found to trigger attacks is stress. Since sufferers are often more likely to have a bout when they feel psychological distress, acupuncture that reduces it decreases the possibility that one will occur. This may then lead to a positive cycle, wherein lower stress leads to less IBS attacks, which further reduces the patient's stress, and so on.