This article is written by Dr. Steven Cannon, Chiropractor at Neurohealth Chiropractic Allambie (Northern Beaches, Manly)

As we approach the end of year, we encounter that time commonly referred to as the silly season. With the silly season comes the overindulgence in things we typically might not have throughout the year. Christmas parties, catching up with friends and colleagues leads to in most cases, an increase in consumption of alcohol, sugary sweets, and overeating. This can be a great to let the hair down but this can also lead to that sudden unexplained pain. Not just the hangover from a boozy Christmas party the night before but a sharp unexplained pain in the neck or low back.

Often this time of year, people present to Neurohealth Chiropractic suffering from Ileocecal Valve syndrome.  It is often called the ‘great mimicker’ due to the numerous amounts of symptoms that can be associated with the Ileocecal Valve. The broad spectrum of its symptoms is usually associated to the toxicity of the body due to the dysfunction of the intestinal tract.

WHAT IS THE ILEOCECAL VALVE?

The Ileocecal Valve is located in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen, close to the region of the appendix.  It is a sphincter muscle that opens and closes allowing for digested materials to move from the small intestine to the large. The valve also blocks these waste materials from returning from the large intestine and causing a back up in the small intestine. It is a one-way valve, only opening up to allow processed /digested food to pass through.

There are two types dysfunction the valve can exhibit, either open or closed.

When the valve is ‘open’ and fails to close, the individual may suffer from frequent diarrhea causing the body to be dehydrated and lack energy.

When the valve is ‘closed’ and fails to open, waste material is absorbed back into the blood stream, which causes a state of toxicity. The closed valve syndrome may bring about tightness in the bowel movements or even constipation.

When the valve isn’t functioning optimally, organs and/or muscles become more susceptible to problems. Symptoms of a closed valve; are upon rising or inactivity they feel worse. And once they start moving they improve. Just the opposite can be said for an open valve; they feel better when they are stationary and not moving about.

SIGNS &SYMPTOMS

Being a great mimicker, the symptoms of an Ileocecal Valve syndrome are many. The most commonly observed symptoms are: -

  • Headaches;
  • Shoulder pain, typically right;
  • Low back pain;
  • Sudden thirst;
  • Indigestion, gas and bloating;
  • Bowel disturbances (constipation/diarrhea)
  • Fatigue;
  • Allergies;
  • Bad breath;
  • Tinnitus/ringing in the ears;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Abdominal pain usually on the lower right;
  • Dark circles under eyes;
  • Flu-like symptoms;
  • Acne;
  • Weakened immune function;
  • Pseudo bursitis/Swelling in joints

CAUSES OF ILEOCECAL VALVE SYNDROME

Main causes of Ileocecal Valve syndrome are typically how and what you eat. People that are dehydrated, emotional upset, eat too fast; overeat and snack seem to exhibit symptoms.

Surprisingly, this syndrome can be found in people that have all good intentions and have tried to improve their diets by eating more roughage; raw fruit and vegetables, popcorn, nuts and seeds.

The main culprits in most cases are due to overloading your diet with spicy food (chili, salsa, pepper), drinking alcohol or overindulging in coffee or caffeinated drinks like green tea, tea or coca cola. Eating junk foods, such as chips, cocoa and chocolate, can also aggravate the valve.

Other culprits are foods that people seem to be most sensitive to in society and that we have too much abundance in our diets. These are foods such as corn, milk, wheat and soy.

The final cause is parasitic infection in the body. We can get a parasite infection from the water and food that we eat. It is estimated that at least 50% of our food and water is infected. If we do not wash our food properly, or if we drink contaminated water (prolonged use of plastic water bottles that aren’t sterilize regularly) we are likely to get parasite eggs in our bodies. Then with the use of personal care products such as shampoo, hand lotions and commercial cleaning products that is high in solvents (Benzene & Propyl Alcohol), which accelerate hatching of parasitic eggs in our digestive tract and causing an infection.

ILEOCECAL VALVE TREATMENT

  • Chiropractic adjustments to affected levels of the spine can help stimulate the nerves that supply the valve, hence improving neurological input and overall health of the body
  • When looking at supplying nutritional supplements that are able to assist with the valve’s function we need to look at nutritional supplements that strengthen and support our digestive tract and immune system. Supplements that have been shown to help are, vitamin A, B-complex, C with bioflavonoids, calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids, blue-green algae, acidophilus/probiotics, and plant digestive enzymes. Also, Aloe Vera juice, cat’s claw, goldenseal, slippery elm and liquorice are great herbal aids that support the Ileocecal valve.
  • Temporary elimination diet  (2-3 weeks) has shown to have great benefits to help reset the Ileocecal valve. This includes the avoidance of
    • Spicy foods – such as chili, hot peppers, salsas, black and cayenne pepper, paprika, cloves and cinnamon;
    • Stimulants – such as alcoholic drinks, liqueurs, cocoa, chocolate, caffeine products (including coca cola, green tea, coffee)
    • Roughage foods – such as popcorn, nuts, potato chips, pretzels, seeds, whole grains;
    • Raw fruits and vegetables – such as celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, cloves, lettuce, tomatoes, bananas, apples, oranges, pineapples, strawberries;
    • Eat a diet for the 2-3 weeks that consists of meat and frozen vegetables (cooked soft). Veal is the easiest to digest. Next is yearling (young, tender beef from Angus, Hereford and Shorthorn lines aged 18 months or less)

Please note that a low roughage diet is not recommended for long term

Hence a proper functioning Ileocecal valve is vital to maintaining a healthy environment in the small and large intestines.

Healthy Digestion = Healthy Bowel Movements = Optimum Health of body

If you think you are suffering from Ileocecal Valve syndrome or know someone that is, contact the team at Neurohealth Chiropractic to find out more information and what can be done for you.