There are many types, patterns and causes of gastrointestinal symptoms. Common symptoms include stomach ulcers and acid reflux, bloating, hernias, diarrhoea and constipation as well as food intolerances.
Abdominal pain is one of the most frequent reasons for visiting a doctor or emergency department. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes abdominal pain, bloating and alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases which cause symptoms such as diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Regular colonoscopy screening from the age of 50 years is the best way to detect and prevent bowel cancer.
The following insights are obtained from systematic reviews and analysis of clinical trials investigating the efficacy of Acupuncture for Digestive Health & Bowel Diseases.
The meta-analysis demonstrates that acupuncture at ST25 appears to be more effective than lactulose in the treatment of functional constipation. This was found to be especially true for deep needling with high-frequency dilatational wave, which had a greater impact on improving CCS, FSD, CTT, and CCS6m. Additionally, acupuncture at ST25 was shown to be safer than conventional treatment, with the rate of AE being significantly lower for both deep needling and shallow needling.
Efficacy and Safety of Acupuncture at Tianshu (ST25) for Functional Constipation: Evidence from 10 Randomized Controlled Trials Li P, Luo Y, Wang Q, Shu S, Chen K, Yu D, Fan C.
This systematic review suggests that acupuncture for FC is safe and effective, especially in terms of increased stool frequency and improved constipation symptoms, stool formation, and quality of life, but the relationship between acupuncture and drugs is not clear. In the future, high-quality RCTs are still needed to provide evidence to support these conclusions and examine the alternative or complementary relationship between acupuncture and existing drugs for the treatment of FC.
The Effectiveness of Acupuncture in Management of Functional Constipation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Wang, Lu; Xu, Mingmin; Zheng, Qianhua; Zhang, Wei; Li, Ying.
In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the effectiveness and safety of 31 acupuncture concerned studies for patients with IBS-D or FD were evaluated. We found that acupuncture can significantly reduce the number of stools per week in IBS-D or FD patients, improve patientsâ€™ overall symptoms, improve the total effective rate, decrease the recurrence rate, and reduce the pain level of patients. Based on the results, we believe that acupuncture can improve the quality of life of patients with IBS-D or FD. Although the number of adverse events in the acupuncture group was similar to that in the control group, the majority of adverse events in the acupuncture group were subcutaneous hemorrhage. With such slight adverse events, we have observed that acceptance among patients has not been reduced. Moreover, the withdrawal rate of patients in the acupuncture group was still slightly lower than that in the control group.
Acupuncture for Adults with Diarrhea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Functional Diarrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Jianbo Guo, Xiaoxiao Xing, Jiani Wu, Hui Zhang, Yongen Yun, Zongshi Qin, and Qingyong He
In this systematic review, we pooled randomized controlled trials with mechanistic investigations of acupuncture or electroacupuncture in improving dyspeptic symptoms, and illustrated the existing results that may provide potential explanations for the therapeutic effects. The findings of included studies in this review suggest that acupuncture and electroacupuncture can improve gastric motility and accommodation, regulate gastrointestinal hormones and mental status, and alter certain central and autonomic functions in patients with functional dyspepsia. However, due to limitations in the included articles, high-quality studies with well-planned designs and multiregional investigations are necessary to provide more convincing and credible evidence.
Effects and mechanisms of acupuncture and electroacupuncture for functional dyspepsia: A systematic review Guo Y, Wei W, Chen JD
Taken together, for improvement of IBS symptoms and quality of life, no difference was found in acupuncture relative to sham controls studies, while some studies indicated positive results of acupuncture in alleviating IBS symptoms, reflective of a larger potential for treating IBS by true acupuncture. Acupuncture seemed to be superior over western medicine, but the placebo effects couldnâ€™t be ignored for all the studies were conducted in China. Acupuncture might be used as an adjunct to western medicine, herbal medicine and tuina for a better clinical effect. Future high-quality and large-sample studies with adequate stimulation amounts need to be conducted for further testing.
Comparison between the Effects of Acupuncture Relative to Other Controls on Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis Zheng H, Chen R, Zhao X, Li G, Liang Y, Zhang H, Chi Z
Acupuncture may improve diarrhoea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome better than drugs and has the fewest side effects. Sham acupuncture may have curative effect except for placebo effect. In the future, it is necessary to perform highly qualified research to prove this result. Pinaverium bromide also has good curative effects with fewer side effects than other drugs.
Acupuncture for Diarrhoea-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Network Meta-Analysis Zhu L, Ma Y, Ye S, Shu Z
In this review, we discuss the history, theory, and methodology of acupuncture and review potentially beneficial mechanisms of action of acupuncture for managing inflammatory bowel disease. Acupuncture has been shown to decrease disease activity and inflammation via increase of vagal activity in inflammatory bowel disease. Acupuncture has demonstrated beneficial roles in the regulation of gut dysbiosis, intestinal barrier function, visceral hypersensitivity, gut motor dysfunction, depression/anxiety, and pain, all of which are factors that can significantly impact quality of life in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Acupuncture in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Gengqing Song, MD, Claudio Fiocchi, MD, Jean-Paul Achkar, MD
A total of 12 trials involving 1235 patients were included. Meta-analyses demonstrated that patients receiving MA/EA combined with WM had a superior global symptom improvement compared with those receiving WM alone with no significant heterogeneity. Recurrence rates of those receiving MA/EA alone were lower than those receiving WM with low heterogeneity, while global symptom improvement (six studies) and symptom scores (three studies) were similar. Descriptive analyses suggested that acupuncture also improves quality of life in patients with GORD.
Acupuncture for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis Zhu, J., Guo, Y., Liu, S., Su, X., Li, Y., Yang, Y., Hou, L., Wang, G., Zhang, J., Chen, J. J. D., Wang, Q., Wei, R., & Wei, W.
Although acupuncture has been used as an appropriate adjunctive treatment for GI dysfunction diseases, the underlying mechanisms have not been clearly understood. Currently, there are no systematic and comprehensive review articles that clarify the regulatory effect of acupuncture on GI function. In this review, we discuss the regulation on GI function through acupuncture from the perspectives of GI motility, the GI barrier, visceral sensitivity, and the brain-gut axis. The results of studies in both humans and animals suggest that acupuncture has the potential to treat GI disorders by regulating GI motility, the GI barrier, visceral sensitivity, and the brain-gut axis. In addition, the dual regulatory effects and the intensity-dependent nature of acupuncture on GI motility are discussed.
Acupuncture and regulation of gastrointestinal function Li H, He T, Xu Q, Li Z, Liu Y, Li F, Yang BF, Liu CZ.
Browse our collection of scientific clinical research on Acupuncture for Digestive Health & Bowel Diseases. It includes recent and reputable papers published by peer-reviewed journals within the last 10 years.
2020, Nov 6
The meta-analysis demonstrates that acupuncture relief frequency of bowel movements, decreased painful evacuation and abdominal pain for Functional Constipation (FC). It also showcase improvement in long-term effect of defecation as compared to short-term effects with patients.
Li P, Luo Y, Wang Q, Shu S, Chen K, Yu D, Fan C. Full Article
2020, Nov 23
Acupuncture treatment can improve the clinical effectiveness of IBS-D or FD, with great safety. It significantly reduces the pain levels, inflammations, and decreases the recurrence rate. It also reported that 60% of patients have stopped taking the medication due to improvements in symptoms. It has overall improved the quality of life for IBS patients.
Jianbo Guo, Xiaoxiao Xing, Jiani Wu, Hui Zhang, Yongen Yun, Zongshi Qin, and Qingyong He Full Article
This systematic review suggests that acupuncture for FC is safe and effective. It is reduced stool frequency and improved constipation symptoms and stool formation. It also showed that acupuncture may be more effective than pharmacological treatment. Therefore, it has less side effects and improving overall quality of life.
Wang, Lu; Xu, Mingmin; Zheng, Qianhua; Zhang, Wei; Li, Ying. Full Article
2020, May 12
This clinical trial showed that Postpradial Distress Syndrome (PDS) showed improvement with acupuncture. Patients faced less upper abdominal bloating and early satiety after 4 weeks of treatment. Overall digestion and mental health were also improved.
Yang JW, Wang LQ, Zou X, Yan SY, Wang Y, Zhao JJ, Tu JF, Wang J, Shi GX, Hu H, Zhou W, Du Y, Liu CZ. Full Article
2020, May 21
Guo Y, Wei W, Chen JD Full Article
2019, Nov 11
This meta-analysis research collectively showed that acupuncture has a higher efficacy rate when combined with western medicine. Patients showed improved long term clinical symptoms such as abdominal pain and altered defecation habits, thus and overall greater quality of life.
Zheng H, Chen R, Zhao X, Li G, Liang Y, Zhang H, Chi Z Full Article
2018, Dec 11
This review have showed effectiveness of acupuncture in IBD with history and methodology of acupuncture. Symptoms such as abdominal pain, impaired gastrointestinal tract , depression/anxiety, and hypersensitivity have significantly improved. Patients also reported a better overall quality of life of patients.
Gengqing Song, MD, Claudio Fiocchi, MD, Jean-Paul Achkar, MD Full Article
2018, May 27
This meta analysis and systematic review article showed that acupuncture improve diarrhoea symptoms with IBS. Patients experienced less diarrhoea, abdominal hypersensitivity and side effects from Western medication (e.g. gastrointestinal disorder inflammatory drugs)
Zhu L, Ma Y, Ye S, Shu Z Full Article
This journal study suggests that acupuncture improve recurrence rates compared with Western Medicine (WM) when used alone. Acupuncture lead to greater overall improvement when used as an adjunct to WM in patients with GORD. They may also have a positive impact on quality of life.
Zhu, J., Guo, Y., Liu, S., Su, X., Li, Y., Yang, Y., Hou, L., Wang, G., Zhang, J., Chen, J. J. D., Wang, Q., Wei, R., & Wei, W. Full Article
2015, Jul 21
In this review, we discuss the regulation on gastrointestinal (GI) function through acupuncture from the perspectives of GI motility, the GI barrier, visceral sensitivity, and the brain-gut axis. The results of studies in both humans and animals suggest that acupuncture has the potential to treat GI disorders by regulating GI motility, the GI barrier, visceral sensitivity, and the brain-gut axis. In addition, the dual regulatory effects and the intensity-dependent nature of acupuncture on GI motility are discussed.
Li H, He T, Xu Q, Li Z, Liu Y, Li F, Yang BF, Liu CZ. Full Article
Although well-conducted clinical research can help members of the public to make better-informed decisions about their healthcare, we do not make any claims that any particular treatment may be efficacious for any individual person.
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