Bowel Movements and Eastern Medicine



Healthy Living Blog by Dr. Tetreault DAOM, L,Ac, RRT


So, regardless of your visit, your Eastern Medicine physician always inquires about the state of your bowels. But why, you ask? It seems that Chinese medicine diagnosis will always somehow include questions regarding bowel function and it is quite amazing how the functioning of the bowels is truly related to a plethora of issues with one’s health. So, to answer this to the best of my ability, I will start with more well known western concepts of the art of healthy bowel function. Healthy bowel function reveals that your intestinal flora are both balanced and thriving and that you are not overly stressed. It also reveals that you are getting substantial fiber and other essential nutrients. Your overall gastrointestinal health is looking not too shabby.

However, if on the other hand, there are some bowel issues, these are signs that you may need to improve your diet and increase nutrient dense foods. This also may signify the need to drink more water or a possible existent food intolerance or allergy. Reduced daily activity often plays a factor in elderly constipation. But there could also be a major health concern that needs addressed for optimal health.

Chronic constipation, loose stools to diarrhea, and even alternating both diarrhea and constipation are all signs of both possible excess and deficiencies in the body that need to be treated to prevent further heat stagnation of toxin build up in the body and both deficiency of blood and vital energy. All of these can manifest into greater issues if not treated at the root.

Large Intestinal damp heat will usually show signs of abdominal pain with blood or mucus in the stools. There is typically an offensive odor of stools, and this can also be accompanied with thirst (with or without a desire to drink), fever, or even watery stools. This could be seen with colitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and etc..

As opposed to only heat in the large intestine, signs of constipation with dry stools, swelling of area, burning sensation in mouth. The tongue will not show a sticky damp coating but red with thick yellow, brown, or black tongue coating.

With more severe cases of large intestinal obstruction, there will be pain which worsens with pressure, high fever, sweating, even delirium. Typically, the patient hopefully has already headed to the emergency room at this point.

Cold invading the large intestine is usually very sudden, painful cramping in the abdomen. There is both diarrhea with pain, a feeling of cold sensation that radiates in the abdomen as well. The tongue has a thick white fur coating.

My poopEnergy of the large intestine can stagnate creating abdominal distension with discomfort. This can include irritability, constipation, and a wiry pulse at the chi bilateral positions when assessed with radial artery palpation.

To enjoy the benefits of good daily bowel movements, eat a balanced diet full of nutrient dense greens and fruits, 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, and drink plenty of water, herbal teas, or fresh vegetable juice. Other tips are to exercise and walk daily to promote good circulation and motility where it counts.

Many other organs are often affected by abnormal bowel function and primarily it is usually the liver, spleen, and /or large intestine. Those with a deficient spleen will have loose stools and chronic problems also tends to involve the kidney energy as well. The liver is often the culprit if there is alternate constipation with loose stools where the liver overacts on the spleen itself. With constipation, there is usually heat with excess, or a deficiency of blood and fluids. So, a lot can be learned from that one simple question regarding the frequency and type of bowel movement.

Remember, it is always the little things that we take for granted every day that are so important. Gut and bowel health dictate our overall health in many ways from the nutrients we absorb to the wastes we excrete on a daily basis. A good balance of fiber, hydration, nutrients, and ambulation go a long way to keep up the natural way of our bowel functions. Also, stress plays a big role in intestinal health. We know with Crohn’s disease, the significance of stress on the bowels can further increase inflammation in the body which is a significant role in  most all autoimmune disorders as well. So, today is your day, to call and make your appointment. I am looking forward to asking you about your bowel health. Call today for your optimal health journey.  772-626-6419