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Internal Medicine

Banish Belly Aches

Many Singaporeans suffer from indigestion due to poor eating habits, insufficient rest and stress. The weather in Singapore is marked by heat and humidity, which can hamper the functions of a person’s digestive organs 脾胃 (pi wei). From a TCM perspective, the causes of indigestion can be classified as:

Liver Qi invading the spleen

Causes: With our modern, fast-paced lifestyles, we’re often under great stress at work or school. A stressful lifestyle causes our liver to perform sub-optimally, which in turn affects the well-being of our digestive system, resulting in “liver qi invading the spleen”.

Signs and symptoms: Gastric discomfort, poor appetite, insomnia, anxiety and agitation. The severity of these signs and symptoms varies in accordance with a person’s emotional well-being.

Phlegm-dampness retention

Causes: As an affluent society, we tend to overconsume high cholesterol food, which adds burden to our digestive system. Coupled with lack of exercise, non-visible phlegm and dampness will accumulate in our body leading to the phlegm-dampness retention syndrome.

Signs and symptoms: Abdominal distension, acid reflux, poor appetite, nausea and indigestion.

Spleen and stomach deficiency

Causes: Some people naturally have spleen and stomach deficiency (qi deficiency) as a result of irregular meals or picky eating habits.

Signs and symptoms: Abdominal discomfort, poor appetite, tasteless sensation in the mouth, weak limbs and loose stool.

Tips For Digestive Health

  • Keep warm. Be mindful to keep your abdominal area warm. Avoid exposing your stomach to cold temperatures.
  • Have good eating habits. A healthy, balanced diet that is not too salty and uses fresh ingredients is essential. Eat regular meals in appropriate portions, or consume five to six smaller meals throughout the day to build up a better digestive system.
  • Avoid toxins. Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol.
  • Keep mentally healthy. Indigestion is often caused by emotional stress. Hence, maintain good interpersonal relationships, have a positive outlook on life and strive for work-life balance. Maintaining mental wellness is vital.
  • Keep active. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly and engaging in healthy hobbies. A healthy body enhances your immunity and strengthens digestive health.

There are some ways TCM can help manage indigestion. Based on the unique body constitution of each individual and by identifying the root cause of the person’s indigestion, herbal medications can be prescribed. In addition, acupuncture can be applied to further improve the digestive system of the individual in the long run. To reap the full efficacy of acupuncture, weekly treatment is necessary.