Visceral hypersensitivity is another one of these vague western medical terms that puts a bunch of symptoms together so it can be labelled and then satisfy patients when they can leave the doctor’s office because they have a diagnosis. Irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia also fall into this category. It may sound a bit cynical, but it is the reality. From a western medical perspective, the cause of the problem is not known, and there is no treatment for it that works. The problem with labeling patients with terms like this, is that they think they have this un-treatable “disease”. When the patients are experimented on with various pharmaceutical drugs with either no result or aggravations, anxiety and depression often arise which then become part of the symptom complex of the dis-ease that they believe they now have. Now researchers believe that visceral hypersensitivity causes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Researchers report that great in-roads have been made over the past ten years in understanding of the neuroanatomy of the gut sensation. The test for the problem is also very advanced. The test is inserting a balloon into the rectum and slowly inflating it and measuring the pain response. Researchers conclude that if 50 % of IBS patients have pain when subjected to the balloon test, there is a connection between visceral hypersensitivity and IBS.
The bottom line is that with all the research and fancy names there is still no medical treatment for visceral hypersensitivity or IBS that patients are satisfied with. None of the western medical treatments work.
On the other side of the coin, research done in Australia over 15 years ago proved that acupuncture and Chinese herbs helped for the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. And the research demonstrated that the treatment outcomes were long lasting after a more than 6 months follow up. In addition, you don’t need to take Chinese herbs and have acupuncture for the rest of your life trying to control the symptoms.
The “pain” experienced by patients with visceral hypersensitivity is treated just the same as any other pain by Chinese medical practitioners. It is treated just the same as pain experienced with irritable bowel syndrome. Acupuncturists would diagnose and work out the root cause when consulting with the patient when taking their case history.
Chinese medicine practitioners diagnose the individual person by an analysis of their presenting symptoms, past illness and constitutional makeup which then are fitted into a specific or specific patterns of disharmony.
Any two patients that came in and presented with the symptoms of “Visceral Hypersensitivity” would have a different Chinese medicine diagnosis and therefore quite different treatments. That is, the acupuncture points and Chinese herbs would be very different in both cases and the treatments on a week to week basis would change as well. The traditional acupuncture practitioner would never just keep doing the same acupuncture points or prescribing the same Chinese herbs day in day out.
Once balance and harmony are achieved and the distressing symptoms have ceased, patients are recommended basic lifestyle changes such as meditation to control stress. Mr Mark Crain, a well-known acupuncturist in Brisbane, says “It is imperative to advise to patients to look into stress reduction methods after the course of acupuncture has dissolved the problem. Otherwise they risk the stress causing havoc again and then it may affect a different body area. Many patients choose to have regular monthly acupuncture treatments these days to keep themselves and their stress in check”.