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Diarrhea that Needs to be Treated and Doesn’t Needs to be Treated

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Frequent recurring excretion is diarrhea even when the feces look normal

If constipation is delayed excretion after digestion, diarrhea is sudden or very frequent excretion. To be specific, sudden growth in the number of excretions, abnormally mushy or watery feces or increased amount of excretion is medically known as conditions for diarrhea. On average, excretion up to three times a day is normal. But even when the number of visits to the bathroom is less than three, if you’re experiencing an inconvenience in daily activities or is afraid of consuming certain food is considered abnormal bowel movement that should be treated in Oriental Medicine.

Diarrhea is so common that it is often overlooked as a disease

Diarrhea is a very common disease. According to statistics, about a hundred million people, worldwide, experience acute diarrhea every year. Its symptoms easily disappear without any treatment and an emergency caused by diarrhea is very rare in developed countries like the United States. Because of these reasons, people habitually overlook the serious symptoms that diarrhea can convey. Being too worried about one-time diarrhea or constipation and visiting a doctor for diagnosis isn’t necessary but frequent recurring diarrhea or constipation could be a signal to a possibility of serious symptoms that should be of concern.

Difference between acute and chronic diarrhea

If diarrhea has been recurring for 2 weeks it’s medically considered as acute diarrhea, chronic diarrhea if it goes on for more 4 weeks or more. They are discerned by its duration because of the difference in the length of consistent diarrhea distinguishes the cause of such symptoms. Diarrhea that people commonly suffer is acute diarrhea (90% of cases) due to infection. If the patient experiences vomiting, fever, and stomachache along with acute diarrhea it’s reasonable to question bacterial infection. The bacterial infection is caused by eating spoiled food most of the time but weakened immune system due to taking immunity related medication such as immunity suppressant could be the cause. Or paradoxically, taking antibiotics to cure bacterial infection can cause more severe bacterial infection through the intrusion of more bacteria when the number of intestinal bacteria is reduced.

Symptoms of diarrhea that needs treatment

Most of the acute diarrhea heals naturally that it doesn’t require prescription or diagnosis. But there are rare cases of acute diarrhea that evolves to be an emergency that needs to be checked. The patient should see a doctor if following symptoms accompany acute diarrhea:  sudden dehydration, fever above 101.12 degrees Fahrenheit, continuous symptoms over 48hours, serious abdominal pain for adults over 50 years old, seniors or patients on immunity suppressants or if multiple of symptoms occur simultaneously. It is recommended to go to a hospital for the diagnosis than an Oriental Medicine clinic.

What to do for diarrhea that needs treatment

Normally principle treatment to acute diarrhea is to hydrate and replenish electrolytes (prescribed antibiotics for special cases). Some who experience diarrhea skip drinking water to avoid going to the bathroom, but this can be critical to one’s health because it causes serious dehydration. Also taking antidiarrheal could rather worsen the symptoms by disabling excretion of bacteria and toxin out of the body.

On the contrary, chronic diarrhea has no relations to bacterial infection. It is often accompanied by fever and stomachache, symptoms of infection, but because it’s not caused by a bacterial infection it cannot be treated solely with antibiotics or sterilizer. Also, chronic diarrhea isn’t a big concern in and of itself, but it can be a symptom to a bigger problem that has to be closely diagnosed. These symptoms can be effectively treated through Oriental Medicine by balancing out the whole body.

 

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Are Yin and Yang and the Five Elements Scientific?

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Yin Yang and the Five Elements are the Standards of Oriental Medicine to Classify Our Body

If modern medicine classifies the organs by its spatial placement, Oriental Medicine classifies by its function. For example, modern medicine classifies lungs as “two chunks of masses at the chest”, whereas Oriental Medicine classifies all organs that perform the respiratory function as a whole, as “lungs”. That would include the organ, lung, itself, but also respiratory tract, nose, skin, and sweat pores too. This kind of special standards are used in Oriental Medicine and of them all, the two most important are the Yin and Yang and the Five Elements (fire, water, wood, metal, and earth).

 

‘Yin’ is Having Too Little Energy, and ‘Yang’ is Too Much Energy

‘Yin’ generally means deficiency of some kind in the body and ‘Yang’ means an excess of something. So, in Oriental Medicine, ‘Yin’ would be referring to organs that perform resting and saving to counteract on deficiency and ‘Yang’ refers to organs that perform an activity that use up the excess energy. It’s like the concept of ‘sympathetic nerves/parasympathetic nerves’ and ‘autonomous nerves/dysautonomic nerves’ in Modern medicine but Oriental Medicine breaks down the concept into organs.

 

‘Yin and Yang’ is the Conceptualization of Functions of Organs

If the concept of Yin and Yang is based on the function and the range each organ performs, then the Five Elements are the organs symbolized into the elements of nature. For example, the spread of the heat all over the body through circulation of blood is much like the image of fire flaring out that heart, the organ which causes the flow, is named ‘the organ of fire. In the same aspect, the kidney is ‘the organ of water’ for it filters and cleanses the body, liver is ‘the organ of tree for it keeps our body firm and strong, stomach is ‘the organ of soil’ for it absorbs and takes in outside nutrients into our body, and lung is ‘the organ of gold’ for it blocks the external waste from coming into our body.

 

The ‘Endocrine Theory’ of Modern Medicine is Another Expression of ‘the Theory of Five Lines’ of Oriental Medicine

Looking into the Yin and Yang and the functions of organs, it’s clinically proven that decreased performance of the kidney has a greater probability of causing heart-related diseases. This kind of phenomenon is explained as weakening of ‘water-energy’ which makes it difficult to control ‘the fire energy’ in the concept of the Five Elements. It describes relationships of these energies to be compatible(상생) and incompatible(상극) to express more complicated functions of the human body. This concept of the Five Elements is very similar to the Endocrine system of Modern medicine.  The endocrine system explains the constant cycle of excreted hormones by offsetting each other’s power, creating a balance. This organic structure of organs explained through the Endocrine system is synonymous to the concept of the Five Elements.

Though the jargons and ways of explaining the concepts are different, the Yin and Yang and the Five Elements of the Oriental Medicine can be said to be identical to the concepts widely accepted and used in the Modern Medicine. Or, considering that the idea of sympathetic nerves and parasympathetic nerves are found only recently (less than 100 years ago), the Oriental Medicine, which studied and confirmed through practice these concepts thousands of years ago, can be said to be more ‘accurate’ and ‘practical’.