Monthly Archives: June 2014

Malaise and Malabsorption

Malabsorption occurs when the body is unable to absorb vitamins, minerals, and nutrients into the bloodstream via the intestinal tract. The primary symptoms of malabsorption are marked weight loss, chronic fatigue, abdominal cramping, bloating, diarrhea, chronic flatulence, edema, and sometimes anemia. Fat may be left unprocessed, being expelled in the stool (also known as steatorrhea). In addition to a loss of essential vitamins and minerals, malabsorption can ensure that the body is unable to properly process protein, oftentimes resulting in extreme wasting of the tissues. Calcium, too, may be lost, resulting in urinary stones and a gradual loss of bone density.

There are a variety of ways that a person can fall victim to malabsorption, and assistance from a medical professional may need to be sought in order to avoid the deadly consequences. Once your healthcare practitioner has identified the underlying cause of your symptoms, the proper treatment plan can be put into action. Some of the potential underlying causes that your doctor may have you screened for include:

  • Celiac disease, or another disease that directly affects the gastrointestinal tract
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Giardiasis, or another disease cause by a parasitic infection
  • Abnormal alteration of the healthy gut bacteria that all humans possess
  • Complications from the human immunodeficiency virus (also known as HIV)
  • Surgery that affects major organ structures such as the gallbladder or the intestinal tract itself
  • Complications from chronic starvation and/or malnutrition
  • Radiation therapy
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Tropical sprue
  • Whipple’s disease

Self Help

Once an individual has been diagnosed with malabsorption, there are a few lifestyle changes that can be made to help ease some of the more acute symptoms. In addition to increasing one’s daily intake of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, individuals with malabsorption may want to consider eating several small meals throughout the day, rather than three traditionally larger meals. Replenishing the body’s fluids with plenty of water is also essential. If symptoms become so severe that a healthy weight cannot be achieved and/or if fluids cannot be successfully retained, one should seek immediate medical attention.

Western Treatments

Identifying the underlying cause of malabsorption will allow your doctor to begin developing an effective treatment plan. Treatment may include:

  • A special, nutrient-rich diet plan
  • Vitamin, protein, and mineral supplements
  • Administration of special digestive enzymes
  • Administration of specific medications to help alleviate cramping and gas

Tests that measure fat in the stool are some of the most reliable in determining whether one is suffering from malabsorption, but these tests typically cannot reveal the underlying cause of the condition. If an abnormality in the lining of the bowel is suspected as a primary cause for malabsorption, your doctor may have to perform a biopsy.

Once an individual is diagnosed with malabsorption, nutrient and fluid replacement are the first step to successfully stabilize the patient. In extreme cases where the patient is suffering from acute malnourishment, hospitalization is often necessary.

A Case Study in TCM Treatment

A 70-year-old man was diagnosed with cancer and began a rigorous routine of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. His primary symptoms included weight loss, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and chronic flatulence. He was already on a multivitamin and a mineral preparation prescribed by his doctor. He had experimented with a digestive enzyme product with few results. He found some relief with hot ginger tea. Traditional Chinese diagnoses revealed that his pulse was sinking and slow, and he had a thick white coating on his tongue. He was prescribed two herbal mixtures, to be taken every day. The first mixture contained poria sclerotium, coix seed, barley shen qu, magnolia bark, angelica root, and some other choice herbs. The second herbal combination included ailanthus cortes, baked astragalus root, white ginseng root, white atractylodes rhizome, red atractylodes rhizome, poria sclerotium, and dioscorea root.

Within two weeks, the patient reported less diarrhea, cramping, and flatulence. The dosage of the second herbal mixture listed above was increased, while the dosage of the first herbal mixture listed above remained the same. After four more weeks, he reported that his symptoms were now a rare occurrence.  His spouse reported that he had more energy throughout the day, and that his moods had improved significantly. The patient even reported a healthy weight gain.

Eradicating Indigestion

Indigestion (also known as dyspepsia) can be understood as a general term used to describe various symptoms of discomfort commonly experienced after gestation. Many people report feeling a sensation of fullness in the upper abdomen, nausea, bloating, heartburn, and upset stomach. There are many symptoms associated with indigestion, and not all people experience all symptoms. Most people will experience symptoms of indigestion at least once in their life. However, as common as these symptoms can be, if an individual begins to experience chronic symptoms of indigestion, it may indicate an underlying medical condition.

Some conditions that may cause chronic indigestion include gastritis, peptic ulcers, gastric cancer, or gallbladder disease. All of these conditions can have serious implications and medical attention may need to be sought. Medical attention should be sought if you have symptoms that last for longer than two weeks, or if you experienced any of the following:

  • Pain that is so bad that you cannot find a comfortable resting position
  • Continuous vomiting, or blood in the vomit
  • Black, tarry stools (steatorrhea)
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive fatigue

It should be noted that some people experience heartburn during a bout of indigestion, but heartburn itself is a separate condition that may need to be treated individually.

Self Help

There are a variety of lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your daily routine in order to help alleviate the symptoms of indigestion. As mentioned above, indigestion is extremely common, and most people will experience some symptoms within their lifetime. The following are proactive steps that you can take to decrease your chances of having recurring symptoms.

  • Avoid fatty foods
  • Avoid carbonated beverages
  • Avoid alcohol and/or caffeine
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Maintain a regular exercise regime
  • Effectively manage your stress level
  • Avoid eating immediately prior to going to bed
  • Be mindful of medications you may be taking and their potential side effects

Some people have reported positive results from other alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage and yoga. However, you should always consult with your doctor before embarking on any treatment plan. If your indigestion is chronic, you should inform your doctor so that they may screen for any potential underlying conditions.

Western Treatments

If the symptoms of indigestion persist, your doctor may suggest any number of medications, many of which can be found over-the-counter. While antacids are typically the first choice for many, this is due to the common misconception that indigestion and heartburn are due to an overproduction of stomach acid. Meanwhile, there are a number of other options—some of which may prove more effective than others, depending on the cause of the indigestion. Some of these western treatments include:

  • Medications that reduce stomach acid, such as H-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs) or proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). PPIs are occasionally recommended if heartburn is also a factor.
  • Antibiotics may be recommended if the cause of the patient’s indigestion is due to the H. pylori bacteria.
  • Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications are sometimes prescribed, as symptoms of a “nervous stomach” are often common in patients with one of more of these psychological conditions.

A Case Study in TCM Treatment

An 81-year-old woman had been experiencing stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea for some time. She was on a variety of different pharmaceutical medications and she complained of additional symptoms such as bloating and a continuous feeling of thirst. Traditional Chinese diagnosis revealed that she had a wiry, deficient pulse, while her tongue was swollen, dry, and cracked.

It was recommended that she begin a daily regimen of an herbal mixture containing poria sclerotium, coix seed, barley shen qu, magnolia bark, angelica root, and some other choice herbs. After three weeks, she reported that the stomach cramping and nausea were greatly improved. At this point, she was given an additional herbal mixture containing bupleurum root, tang kuei root, white peony root, salvia root, poria sclerotium, and white atractylodes rhizome. Two weeks later, the patient reported that virtually all of her symptoms were gone.

The Half-Life of Hiccups

Hiccups are a unique albeit temporary condition that can affect anyone. While bouts of hiccups typically only last for a couple minutes at a time, there are a few rare cases where an individual maintains a bout of hiccups long enough for the condition to interrupt eating, sleeping, and concentrating. Occasionally, hiccups can be an indication of an underlying issue. If hiccups become so regular that they begin to disrupt daily activities, medical attention may need to be sought.

By definition, hiccups are involuntary contractions of the diaphragm—the muscle that plays a pivotal role in respiratory function. The contraction is completed when the vocal cords close, producing the familiar “hic!” sound. These noises, along with a tightening feeling in the chest, comprise the only symptoms of hiccups. Hiccups typically occur after food or drink is consumed too quickly, or when one is under extreme emotional distress. Alcohol consumption, specifically, is most likely to induce hiccupping. Other common causes of hiccups include:

  • Consuming carbonated beverages
  • Eating too much
  • Excitement
  • Swallowing air (as with chewing gum)
  • Sudden changes in temperature

As mentioned above, there are rare cases where individuals begin exhibiting symptoms of hiccups due to an underlying medical reason. Nerve damage and/or irritation to the vagus or phrenic nerves and some central nervous system disorders can cause recurring bouts of hiccups. By treating the underlying cause, medical professionals can help their patients find relief from the hiccups.

Self Help

While there is no guaranteed method to prevent hiccups, there are some creative options that you can try to stop your hiccups in their tracks. While some of these methods may not work for all people all the time, they can bring welcome relief to some sufferers. These methods include but are not limited to:

  • Holding your breath
  • Sipping ice cold water
  • Massaging the back of the mouth with a Q-tip
  • Sucking on a sugar cube
  • Swallowing three tablespoons of vinegar
  • Breathing into a paper bag
  • Being suddenly startled

Western Treatments

Most people who get hiccups generally have to simply “ride it out”—that is, they must wait until their symptoms resolve themselves on their own. It is only after an individual has had recurring bouts of hiccups lasting long enough to cause disruption in everyday activities that someone should seek the assistance of a medical professional. Working with a doctor may help identify whether or not an individual’s hiccups are due to an underlying medical issue. If your hiccups are recurrent, your doctor may recommend that you increase your B vitamin intake.

A Case Study in TCM Treatment

A 42-year-old man began complaining of frequent episodes of hiccups for the previous two years. All of the health care professionals that he had seen over the years were at a loss. Traditional Chinese diagnosis found that his pulse was wiry and rapid, while his tongue was red with a grey coating. He began to take a combination of three separate herbal mixtures while adopting the practice of massaging the back of his mouth with a Q-tip every time he came down with a bout of hiccups.

The first herbal mixture contained calcium carbonate, bupleurum root, ginseng root, ginger root, pinellia rhizome, scute root, cinnamon twig, rhubarb rhizome, and vladimiria souliei. The second herbal mixture contained coptis rhizome, lophatherum herb, bupleurum root, raw rehmannia root, tang kuei root, white peony root, akebia trifoliata caulis, anemarrhena root, phellodendron cortex, gentian root, alisma rhizome, plantago seed, scute root, sophora root, forsythia fruit, gardenia fruit, licorice root. The final herbal mixture contained isatis extract leaf and root, oldenlandia herb, lonicera flower, prunella herb, andrographis herb, laminaria leaf, viola herb/root, cordyceps fruiting body, licorice root.

What To Do About Appendicitis

Appendicitis is a common, but potentially life threatening, condition. Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed and fills quickly with pus. The appendix projects from the right side of the colon and remains a vestigial trait with no current identifiable purpose. The pain from appendicitis occurs suddenly, and the pain commonly shifts from the area around the navel to the area comprising the lower right abdomen. The pain associated with appendicitis increases rapidly over a period of approximately 12 to 18 hours. While appendicitis can affect anyone at any time, the condition is generally seen in individuals aged 10 to 30. Left untreated, the appendix can rupture or develop into a serious bacterial infection. Immediate medical attention should be sought if the pain becomes so severe that the individual cannot find a comfortable resting position.

While the increasing, shifting abdominal pain is typically the telltale sign of appendicitis, there are a range of other symptoms that can be associated with the condition. These symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Constipation and/or the inability to pass gas

Appendicitis can happen due to an obstruction, an infection, and sometimes for reasons that aren’t ultimately clear. While the direct causes of the condition may vary, the eventual result of every case of appendicitis is an overgrowth of bacteria that causes the organ to become swollen, inflamed, and filled with pus. As mentioned earlier, cases of appendicitis that remain untreated can result in a fatal rupture or abscess.

Self Help

There is no real way to prevent one from contracting appendicitis, but there are a few methods that you can take to help alleviate your symptoms once you are diagnosed. These simple lifestyle changes include:

  • Avoiding strenuous activity based on the type of surgery you had to remove the appendix. If you had an open incision made during your appendectomy, you will want to let your body rest for up to two weeks after surgery. If your surgery was performed laproscopically, you can begin readjusting to your regular routine after approximately 5 days. It is important to remember not to push yourself during this time—the body needs plenty of time to recover after surgery.
  • Be sure to get as much sleep as you need. This will give your body more time to recuperate effectively. When the body heals, individuals oftentimes feel more tired than usual.
  • Be careful when you cough. Be sure to support your abdomen when you cough in order to avoid tearing any stitches that you may have. Bracing yourself before coughing may cause less general pain.

Other alternative approaches relating to appendicitis deal primarily with pain management. While yoga may be ruled out as an option by your doctor, other forms of therapy may still help. These therapies can include anything from guided meditation to art therapy—whatever works best for the individual.

Western Treatments

Those who are diagnosed with appendicitis almost always become candidates for surgical removal of the appendix (also called appendectomy). The surgery is relatively minor in scope, and those who did not experience a rupture or infection due to their appendicitis are often expected to make a full and swift recovery. If there is an infection, your medial professional may have to drain the abscess before performing the appendectomy. Medications for pain will likely be prescribed by your doctor as a post treatment option.

If you think that you may be exhibiting symptoms of appendicitis, you must inform your local hospital. There are a variety of tests that can be performed to assess whether or not one has come down with the condition. Some of these tests include blood tests, urine tests, and imaging tests.

A Treatment in TCM Diagnosis

A 28-year-old woman working as an administrator of a non-profit began experiencing acute pain in the lower quadrant of the abdomen. While the patient knew that the pain she was feeling was due to appendicitis, she was hesitant to commit to surgery as a default treatment plan. While being monitored in a hospital, the patient was given two herbal formulas, each to be taken 4 to 6 times a day until she reported feeling gradually better and until all symptoms disappeared.

The first herbal mixture contained isatis extract leaf & root, codonopsis root, oyster shell, bupleurum root, smilax rhizome, gardenia fruit, moutan root bark, tang kuei root, akebia trifoliate caulis, red peony root, alisma rhizome, and cyperus rhizome.

The second herbal mixture contained coptis rhizome, lophatherum herb, bupleurum root, raw rehmannia root, tang kuei root, white peony root, akebia trifoliate caulis, anemarrhena root, phellodendron cortex, gentian root, alisma rhizome, plantago seed, scute root, sophora root, forsythia fruit, gardenia fruit, and licorice root.

The ABCs of IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders among both the young and the old. This condition primarily affects the large intestine (also known as the colon), and includes symptoms such as cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. IBS is not life threatening, and most people find relief from their symptoms by simply learning how to manage their condition through diet, exercise, and proactive lifestyle choices. While the IBS on its own is not life threatening, the condition sometimes accompanies a dual diagnosis of a more serious problem. For this reason, any person experiencing symptoms should seek the advice of a healthcare professional.

While the exact cause of IBS is not clear, many people with the condition are able to identify certain things that trigger their symptoms. For many people, these triggers include certain foods (especially high fat foods), stress, and hormones.

If your symptoms began after drinking untreated water, or during a trip to an equatorial or developing country, you may consider seeking medical assistance to ensure that you have not contracted an intestinal parasite.

Self Help

As mentioned above, IBS does not act like other intestinal diseases in that it does not cause inflammation or alter the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, IBS does not put people at risk of developing colorectal cancer. For most people suffering from IBS, symptoms can be managed effectively by making proactive lifestyle and dietary changes. It is very rare for the symptoms of this condition to become so severe that they become disabling. The following are some of the steps that you can take to better control your symptoms:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat more fiber
  • Avoid high-fat foods
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Avoid dairy
  • Consider probiotics
  • Use caution when dealing with anti-diarrheal medications and/or laxatives
  • Practice deep breathing

Luckily, IBS typically responds well to treatment. Regular exercise, dietary maintenance, and stress management are the three most important lifestyle factors to consider if your doctor diagnoses you with IBS.

Western Treatments

There are a number of tests used to detect IBS, ranging from minor to relatively invasive. Some of these tests include lactose intolerance tests, blood tests, CT scans, and colonoscopy. Once diagnosed, there are a range of western treatments available.

While most people are able to manage their symptoms through the lifestyle changes mentioned above, these treatments are used for addressing symptoms that are acute and/or especially severe. These treatments include:

  • Fiber supplements
  • Eliminating high-fat foods
  • Anti-diarrheal medications
  • Counseling for stress management

As always, you should consult your health care practitioner before taking any medications.

A Case Study in TCM Treatment

A 44-year-old nurse was diagnosed with IBS after years of assuming her symptoms were due to a bad case of “nervous stomach.” She sought assistance after noticing that her symptoms were not confined to the parameters of stressful life events—she would become bloated after meals, experience chronic fatigue, and she began having bouts of diarrhea in the morning. In addition to these symptoms, she was also experiencing PMS, nighttime urination, thirst without the desire to drink, and a bitter taste that lingered in her mouth.

Traditional Chinese diagnosis found that her pulse was thin and wiry while her tongue was pale in the center with red edges. It was recommended that she begin a regular exercise regime, and to incorporate three herbal mixtures into her daily routine. The first mixture was comprised of bovine colostrum complex. The second and third formulas were to be taken during ovulation. One contained bupleurum root, tang kuei root, white peony root, salvia root, poria sclerotium, white atractylodes rhizome, cyperus rhizome, and citrus peel. The other contained gastrodia rhizome, uncaria stem, abalone shell, gardenia fruit, scute root, leonurus herb, cyathula root, eucommia bark, loranthus stem, polygonum stem, and fu shen sclerotium.

After one month, there were complains of constipation and the bovine colostrum complex was decreased by half. After the second month, she reported no PMS symptoms, less nighttime urination, and more energy throughout the day—a definite improvement by her own standards.

Gastroparesis: Intestinal Disorders Caused By Diabetes

Chronic diabetes can cause various forms of nerve degeneration (also known as diabetic neuropathy). The digestive tract can be negatively impacted when the nerves of the stomach become damaged from chronic diabetes, a condition known as diabetic gastroparesis. Diabetic gastroparesis is the partial or incomplete paralysis of the stomach muscles, preventing the stomach from emptying properly and from absorbing nutrients properly (also called malabsorption).

Gastroparesis is most often associated with type 1 diabetes; however, it can also occur in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Symptoms of gastroparesis include:

  • Acid reflux and/or heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Feeling full quickly after eating

There are a number of complications that can be associated with gastroparesis. With food unable to travel away from the stomach, there is a possibility of a bacterial infection occurring if the food spoils. Food can also form into a hard mass, called a bezoar. Bezoars can then cause blockages and serious intestinal distress. Those with diabetic gastroparesis should always manage their blood sugar closely, as the condition can make it difficult for individuals to consistently control their blood sugar levels.

Self Help

Ultimately, the best self-care that you can practice if you are diagnosed with gastroparesis is to vary how and when you eat your meals. By experimenting with different portions and meal times, you can learn to better understand your body and to fine tune your meal plan to fit within your spectrum of treatment. As with most gastrointestinal ailments, food that is high in fat content should be avoided as high-fat foods are more difficult to digest.

Also if you are diagnosed with gastroparesis due to your type 1 or 2 diabetes, you should work with your health care practitioner to educate yourself on proper insulin administration and blood sugar maintenance. By addressing the underlying cause of your intestinal issues, you can begin to heal more effectively.

Western Treatments

There is a common pharmaceutical that is often administered to those suffering from diabetic gastroparesis. The name of the drug is Metoclopramide and its function is to increase gastric emptying and to alleviate nausea. Unfortunately, Metoclopramide does not work for all patients, leading many to seek out alternative treatments. If the patient develops a bacterial overgrowth, antibiotics are commonly administered on a cyclical basis in order to control diarrhea. There are a slew of other pharmaceuticals that can be prescribed, but as always, they all come with their own set of possible detrimental side effects.

Western medical procedures that help treat gastroparesis include gastric electrical stimulation for symptoms of nausea and vomiting and gastrostomy-tube decompression (also known as PEJ/PEG feeding), for symptoms associated with malabsorption and malnourishment.

A Case in TCM Treatment

There are a few ways that an individual can address their most acute symptoms. Based on the individual’s symptoms and constitution, treatment based in traditional Chinese medicine can be applied to help relieve many of the painful side effects.

  • Diarrhea can be treated using an herbal mixture containing bovine colostrum complex.
  • Tonify the blood by seeking an herbal formula with potential antibiotic properties containing isatis extract leaf & root, astragalus root, bupleurum root, laminaria leaf, codonopsis root, epimedium leaf, lycium fruit, and dioscorea root.
  • Help break down food by taking a mixture containing poria sclerotium, coix seed, barley shen qu, magnolia bark, angelica root, pueraria root, red atractylodes rhizome, vladimiria souliei root, and pogostemon herb before every meal.
  • Kidney tonics can be made from a combination of astragalus root & seed, ligustrum fruit, ho-shou-wu root, lycium fruit, cooked rehmannia root, eucommia bark, cuscuta seed, and ginseng root.
  • Circulate blood with a mixture of pueraria root, ilex root, salvia root, lonicera flower, eucommia bark, acorus rhizome, cistanche salsa herb, ho-shou-wu root, morus fruit, rose fruit, lycium bark, and zizyphus seed.

Examining Gallstones

The gallbladder is a small organ located just under the liver. The normal function of the gallbladder is to store the bile created in the liver until it is needed to aid the digestion of fats in the small intestine. When there is an over production of cholesterol in the bile that cannot be dissolved, gallstones can form. Gallstones can range in size, some being as small as a grain of sand, with others growing to roughly the size of a golf ball. People can develop one or several gallstones at a time.

Gallstones can remain in a person without any obvious symptoms. However, if the stones lodge in an internal duct, symptoms can appear quite rapidly. Symptoms that result from a blockage caused by gallstones include sudden, intense pain in the upper right abdomen, center abdomen, and/or shoulders. The pain can last anywhere between a few minutes to several hours. Individuals experiencing symptoms of gallstones should seek immediate medical attention if the pain becomes so bad that one cannot find a comfortable resting position, or if one develops a fever or yellowing of the skin. A diagnosis of gallstones is typically preceded by years of symptoms of indigestion. Being female, overweight, and over 40 years of age are all potential risk factors for developing gallstones. Some cholesterol-lowering medications can also cause gallstones. After treating the acute symptoms, your physician can then better address the underlying cause of the stones.

Self Help

You can help reduce your risk of developing gallstones by eating healthfully and practicing good self-care.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity increases the risk of gallstones. For this reason, reducing the number of daily calories consumed may be the best option for those struggling with weight issues.
  • Avoid  yo-yo dieting. Fad diets may hurt you more than help you. Losing weight at a rapid pace may increase your risk of developing gallstones. The Mayo Clinic recommends losing no more than 1-2 pounds (or 0.5 to 1 kilogram) per week.
  • Eat regular meals. Skipping meals may increase your risk of developing gallstones. For this reason, it’s recommended to eat at regular intervals every day.
  • Manage your cholesterol. Gallstones can develop from an overproduction of cholesterol. This cholesterol is unable to be dissolved, causing blockages and painful symptoms. You can better manage your cholesterol through a healthy diet, exercise, and advice from your health care practitioner.

Western Treatments

Western treatments for gallstones range in scope from minor to extremely invasive. As always, the treatment plan that is followed depends on the severity and progression of the illness. There are a variety of ways that your doctor can test for gallstones. Blood tests may reveal some of the complications caused by gallstones (such as infection or pancreatitis), while a CT scan and/or an ultrasound may allow your doctor to view the obstruction better. There are also tests that can be done to assess the functionality of your bile ducts. These tests include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), or a hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan.

While surgery is the most extreme medical intervention taken for individuals with gallstones, there are medications that your doctor can prescribe that may help dissolve the stones for easier passage. As always, these medications carry the risk of side effects.

A Case Study in TCM Treatment

An overweight, 40-year-old woman informed her physician of radiating pain in the upper abdomen, prompting him to conduct an ultrasound. The determination was that she had eight gallstones, averaging about four millimeters each. When examined, it was found that her pulse was a bit wiry, and her tongue had a yellowish coating. She was given a combination of two herbal mixtures and within four month reported that the stones had all reduced in size by approximately 50 percent.

The first mixture included curcuma tuber, corydalis rhizome, taraxacum herb, melia fruit, ji nei jin, and salvia root. The second mixture contained eclipta herb concentrate, milk thistle 80% extract, curcuma tuber, salvia root, lycium fruit, ligustrum fruit, bupleurum root, and schizandra fruit.

Healing Gastritis Effectively

Gastritis is a group of symptoms and conditions that stem from inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis has many different causes, and the symptoms of the illness can vary in degree and expression. The most common symptom of gastritis is discomfort in the upper abdominal area, oftentimes accompanied by nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Gastritis can be acute (occurring suddenly and for a relatively short duration of time), or chronic (appearing gradually over time, with symptoms that last indefinitely). Gastritis is rarely fatal, generally improving quickly and without any medical intervention. However, persistent symptoms that are left untreated can sometimes result in gastric bleeding—a very serious condition that requires immediate hospitalization. Gastric bleeding can be identified by blood in vomit or stool.

The causes of gastritis are varied, affecting different people in different ways. A weakening of the mucus-lined barrier that protects the stomach wall can cause stomach acid and other digestive juices to damage the stomach lining, making it inflamed and irritated. This type of inflammation can be caused by trauma, burns, shock, or even poor circulation due to surgery. It can also be caused by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. Certain lifestyle choices can increase the chances of gastritis–such as the regular use of alcohol and/or pain relievers. Regular use of either of these substances can cause the lining of the stomach to become irritated and damaged.

Self Help

Once the underlying cause of gastritis is determined, your doctor(s) can develop a treatment option that is best suited to your unique needs. However, there are steps you can take to achieve relief from some of the signs and symptoms that come with this condition.

  • Abstain from alcohol. Alcohol can irritate the lining of the stomach, causing inflammation and pain.
  • Switch pain medicine. For those living with chronic pain, switching to a pain reliever that won’t aggravate the lining of the stomach (such as acetaminophen) may help.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Foods that are greasy, fatty, spicy, or acidic should be avoided, as they can exacerbate the symptoms of gastritis.
  • Lower your stress levels.  Stress can often cause the symptoms of gastritis to linger or worsen. Practicing meditative techniques may help some people find relief.

Gastritis caused by H. Pylori is slightly more complicated, as it is caused by a bacterial infection—the exact mode of which is not well known. Preventative measures include frequently washing your hands with soap and water, and always ensuring that food is completely cooked before consumption.

Western Treatments

Gastritis is relatively easy to diagnose, and tests to identify the underlying cause can be administered. These tests include endoscopy, x-ray, and tests to detect the bacteria H. pylori. Once the cause of the inflammation is acknowledged, your medical practitioner can take steps to organize an effective treatment plan. Sometimes treatment is as easy as eliminating alcohol consumption or ceasing to use risky pain medications. Other times, antibiotics for bacterial infection or medications to manage the production of stomach acid may be administered. As with many pharmaceuticals, there comes the risk of various side effects—many of which prove problematic for some patients.

Treatments Based in TCM Practices

There are a few herbal mixtures that can be taken to alleviate some of the symptoms of gastritis. To help decrease the inflammation and encourage proper healing, a mixture containing isatis extract leaf & root, codonopsis root, oyster shell, bupleurum root, smilax rhizome, gardenia fruit, moutan root bark, and tang kuei root can be taken

To help restore the alkaline/acid balance in the stomach, one can take a mixture containing poria sclerotium, coix seed, barley shen qu, magnolia bark, angelica root, pueraria root, red atractylodes rhizome, vladimiria souliei root, and pogostemon herb.

Finally, to help decrease the inflammation in the stomach and to help generate fluids, one can consume a mixture containing louts seed , ophiopogon tuber, poria sclerotium, white ginseng root, plantago seed, scute root, smilax rhizome, and astragalus root.