Our digestive system is responsible for breaking down and absorbing food and drink and excreting its waste products. Whenever there is something disrupting these bodily processes, it result in digestive disorder. Digestive problems include diarrhea, bloating, ulcers, abdominal distention, stomachache, vomiting, constipation, and many other problems. These all have their various causes which may be related to dietary, emotional, environmental and other physiological factors.
Dietary & Nutritional Effects on Digestion
Our digestive system is responsible for breaking down and absorbing food and drink and excreting its waste products. This is influenced primarily by the food and drink we decide to ingest. Naturally, by eating “unhealthy” foods, we will damage the digestive system regardless of the extent of unhealthiness.
For example, habitual consumption of spicy and oily foods will injure our stomach, because spicy foods harm stomach mucousa and oily foods will encourage overproduction of acid causing ulcers.
Effect of Emotions of Digestion
Our body’s ability to digest implies both digestion of physical substances and intangible substances such as thoughts, ideas, sounds, and stimuli. These processes can collide if done at inappropriate times or together.
For example. eating while angry can interrupt digestion leading to indigestion and bloating. Sometimes excessive mental activity taxes our body’s internal organs and weakens our appetite.
Infection and Parastic Effects on Digestion
Sometimes the foods and fluids we ingest can be contaminated with bacteria or parasites leading to dysentery, food poisoning, vomiting, and diarrhea. Either way, these are not pleasant. However, there are herbs that can alleviate some of these conditions.
Chinese medicine and Signs of Digestive Disorder
Digestive disorders can manifest many types of symptoms depending on the disorder. Other factors such as the quality, frequency, consistency, and time of occurrence also affect what each clinical manifestation indicates.
Stomach ache, also known as epigastric pain, tells us many things about our digestive system. Firstly, the disorder either located at or another problem is affecting the upper part of the digestive tract. Within the upper digestive system includes the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, and gallbladder. Additionally, there are surrounding structures including the diaphragm, peritoneal cavity, and other organs such as the heart and intestines. A number of causes can affect any one of these organs. In some cases, hepatomegaly (enlarged liver) can obstruct some gastric circulation and digestive activity.
Nausea & Vomiting
Nausea & vomiting is a digestive symptom. Much like stomach ache, while it is the stomach being affected, this symptom can be caused by disharmony of any of the internal organs.
This symptom can also be caused by gastrointestinal infections or even disharmony of the brain, as in cases of head injury. Stomach pain is even seen in cases prior to myocardial infarction. In these scenarios, the onset is very sudden.
Acid reflux is a common gastric symptom. Like the other manifestations, this can be caused by multiple reasons. For example, the gallbladder often becomes congested or irritated, resulting in improper release of bile, affecting the stomach pH. In Chinese medicine, this would be considerd a stomach and gallbladder disharmony.
Abdominal distention should be the most common symptom that reflects digestive disharmony. Much like the other symptoms, these can be related to biliary or gastrointestinal imbalances. However, it is more common for digestive-related distention to be in the epigastric area (the area below the chest but above the navel). Sometimes there can be lower abdominal distention (area below the navel and above the pelvis) which can be related to colon disease, but it may sometimes pertain to bladder issues or even reproductive health issues.
Patients can experience diarrhea or constipation, with or without pain, if they have some sort of gastrointestinal disharmony. This can becaused by excessive dryness or moisture in the bowels or even excessive or lack of gastrointestinal movement.
Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture treatment for Digestive Disorders
Herbal and acupuncture treatment for digestive disorders has been documented in thousands of cases from ancient to modern times in hospitals. Chinese medicine places the digestive system in utmost importance in regards to our health. This is because our body can only function with adequate nourishment of nutrients and fluids, all of which are governed by our digestive system. In acupuncture, thin needles are inserted into the body at various points, which then regulates the nerve conduction and circulation to produce a therapeutic effect that can ease bloating, regulate stomach churning activity, relax bile release, and promote downward movement in the gastroinstestinal tract.