How to maintain your intestinal health and avoid bowel cancer


In this article, I am going to give you some ideas about Traditional Chinese Medicine practices to look after your bowel, to maintain its health and how to find a problem in an early stage to avoid a serious problem.

Currently the husband of one of my friends (around 40 years old) suffers from bowel cancer. He had two operations to remove part of the bowel. The whole family is very worried about his condition. Bowel cancer is becoming more and more common in the world. This made me think of the importance of maintaining bowel health and how I can share my knowledge with the public.

1. Functions of the large intestine (bowel)

Chinese medicine considers the large intestine to be one of the most important parts of the digestive system. After digestion, the feces (stool) are being formed and stored in the large intestine until it is ready to come out of the body. This means that it is a very important job for the bowel to clear the feces regularly.

The feces contain lots of toxins not wanted by the body, if the stool cannot be removed regularly the bowel is the first part of the body to get affected. This is why, the most common bowel cancer is in the lower part of the large intestine (feces storage area).

2. Side effects of indigestion

There are two major side effects of Indigestion:

i) Sluggish bowel movement or hard stool:
If the stool is stored in the large intestine, longer than it should. The body will reabsorb the extra fluid, making it harder to pass the stool as well as making it very dry.

ii) Increase in toxins in the body:
If the feces stays in the large intestine longer, the body will reabsorb the toxins within the feces. This may cause damage to both the bowel and the body.

3. Symptoms of indigestion (sluggish bowel movement)

Bloating, hard or sluggish stool with pungent smell, irregular bowel movement (not everyday), pass smelly wind, lack of energy, insomnia, head aches, vivid dreams, weight gain (hard to lose weight), face and skin gets a rash easily, haemorrhoids (long-term sluggish bowel movement, may cause hemorrhoids), burning or pain sensation after bowel movement.

4. What does your large intestine like and dislike?

i) The large intestine likes to be empty, and dislikes being full
This indicates that the feces should be cleared everyday. I suggest, to encourage your body to have a bowel movement everyday around the same time.

ii) The intestine does not like a cold environment
Chinese medicine considers cold (temperature) foods or beverages to affect the circulation and movement through the intestine. It is believed that having warm (temperature) food and beverages helps to improve the circulation and movement through the bowel. I suggest, avoid eating or drinking foods straight out of the fridge, especially on a cold day.

5. What foods are best for bowel function and movement?

Eggplant, cucumber, celery, spinach, chinese cabbage, white radish, carrots, green tea, peppermint tea, honey, sweet potato, most green vegetables, banana, plums, prunes, tomato, lemon, orange.

6. How does acupuncture and Chinese medicine help your intestine?

i) If you have the certain symptoms mentioned above, you should see a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.

ii) When you come to see us, we check your body through a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis method. We do this by checking your pulse, tongue, signs and symptoms to find out the cause of your indigestion (sluggish bowel movement).

iii) We will set up a suitable treatment (acupuncture or cupping or meridian massage or Chinese medicine) for you, to help fix the cause.

iv) Maintaining good health of your bowel:

We also can give you regular acupuncture to maintain your intestine function by having acupuncture once a month. This will help to clear the toxins in the intestine and to avoid a serious problem. For the following individual cases, it may be important to pay more attention to your bowel, such as; after bowel operation, chronic sluggish bowel movement, meat lovers, those who gain weight easily.

7. Case study

A couple of months ago a 60-year-old female suffered from irregular bowel movements. She needed to take tablets to help clear her bowel everyday. She had the following symptoms; insomnia, bloating, lack of energy, lower back pain and passing smelly wind. After checking her, I realised she had dysfunction of the liver and large intestine (too much heat (characteristic) in the liver and large intestine). After 5 sessions of acupuncture she can have regular bowel movements without medication, and all of her symptoms were cleared.

Many people pay attention to the quality of food they eat (going in your body), but if you can pay more attention to how it leaves your body it will keep you healthier.


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