Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a condition defined by numerous painful lesions along the walls of the large intestine.  UC is a single disease as viewed by allopathic medicine, and is typically treated based on severity and the patient’s response to different medications.  Chinese Medicine acknowledges that a number of different conditions can manifest with these lesions in the large intestine, and should therefore be treated differently.  Below is a basic list of patterns and associated symptoms that are often present with the diagnosis of UC.  The patterns are described with terms and phrases that will probably be unfamiliar to the Western reader, but the purpose of this article is to show the layperson that there are many different manifestations of UC, and that certain factors differentiate one person’s experience from that of another, and should therefore be treated differently.

      • UC due to Damp-heat in the intestines:
        • Symptoms:
          • Abdominal pain and diarrhea with pus and blood
          • Burning heat around the anus
          • Tenesmus
          • Foul-smelling stool
          • Bitter taste in mouth
          • Possible fever, nausea, vomiting
          • Yellow urine
          • Red tongue with slippery yellow coat
          • Slippery, rapid pulse
      • UC due to Liver overacting on Spleen:
        • Symtoms
          • Episodes of diarrhea associated with worry, anxiety, frustration, or anger
          • Abdominal pain which decreases after BM
          • Maybe mucus or pus in stool
          • Hypochondrial, chest, or breast distention and pain
          • Irritability
          • Sighing
          • Fatigue
          • Cold hands and feet
          •  Pale complexion
          • Swollen pale, but dark tongue with white coating
          • Fine thin pulse
      • UC due to SP/St xu (usually accompanied with other patterns):
        • Symptoms
          • occasional diarrhea or loose stool
          • attacks lasting several days with recurrent relapses
          • mucus in stool and/or occasional blood
          • slight abdominal pain
          • increased BM after eating oil or greasy foods
          • undigested food in stool
          • fatigue
          • lack of strength
          • reduced appetite
          • abdominal distention after meals
          • pale or sallow complexion
          • rectal prolapse
          • pale tongue with white coating
          • slightly slow, fine, weak pulse
      • UC due to Sp/Ki xu (mostly seen in elderly or following prolonged use of steroids)
        • Symptoms
          • thin, loose stools
          • incontinence or leakage of stools
          • occasional dark, purplish blood and pus mixed with stools
          • dull, white complexion
          • sore and cold low back and knees
          • lack of warmth in limbs
          • aversion to cold
          • fatigue
          • lack of strength
          • lassitude
          • low appetite
          • pale, swollen tongue with white coat
          • deep, fine pulse
      • UC due to Dampness in the St and Intestines
        • symtpoms
          • water diarrhea with or without mucus
          • abdominal distention
          • borborygmus
          • possible palpitations and SOB
          • sloshing sound in stomach
          • profuse saliva
          • scanty urine
          • pale tongue with shiny white coat
          • soft, slippery pulse
      • UC with Qi and Yin Xu:
        • symptoms
          • chronic diarrhea, bleeding, or damaged fluids due to use of steroids
          • yellow, watery diarrhea
          • bright red blood in stools
          • lassitude
          • fatigue
          • lack of strength
          • vexation and agitation
          • scanty urine
          • dry skin
          • dry mouth
          • red lips
          • malar flush
          • five centers heat
          • crimson tongue with no coat
          • fine, rapid pulse
    • UC due to blood stasis obstructing the channels (usually accompanied by another pattern)
      • Symptoms
        • Fixed lower abdominal pain
        • Palpable lumps in lower abdomen
        • Purplish black blood clots in stool
        • Dark purplish tongue, possibly spots on tongue

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