My therapy of choice has been the standard, comprehensive treatments established by applied kinesiologists, including chiropractic adjustments, to mechanically close or open the valve, the neurolymphatic or the neurovascular reflexes and stress receptors; acupuncture; and nutrition/dietary modifications.
Deeper study into homeopathy, however, has shed light on several remedies that are proving to be more corrective and curative for the elusive, recurring ICV. These discoveries eventually led me to develop a formula to combat the condition, thus ending my ileocecal valve syndrome frustrations.
I can't begin to imagine how many hours I spent repeating treatment therapies on patients with chronic ICV. Homeopathy has been not only a great help therapeutically, but a tremendous timesaver (and a great "fingersaver," in that I no longer need to repeatedly lift the valve and manipulate all the neurolymphatic and neurovascular reflexes, etc.).
What Is ICV Syndrome?
The ICV is a little-known valve separating the ileum - the last part of the small intestine - from the cecum, the first part of the large intestine. The ICV functions to prevent materials in the large intestine from regurgitating (backing up) into the small intestine. The small intestine functions much like a kitchen, processing food and providing nutrition to the body. The large intestine functions more like a septic system, eliminating toxic waste products from the body.
Autointoxication occurs quickly when the ICV spasms open, allowing toxins from our large intestine "septic tank" to back up into our small intestine "kitchen" and absorb into our body. The small and large intestines are different environments with different functions; under normal, healthy circumstances, the ICV is vital to assuring the two don't mix.
Anatomists and physiologists initially thought the bicuspid nature of the valve worked strictly as a "one-way" or "check" valve. More recent investigations have revealed a much more complex function, including pressure response; nerve controls; responses from various secretions; chemicals; roughage; and emotional state. Proper functioning of the ICV is vital to maintaining healthy environments in the small and large intestines; healthy digestion; healthy bowel movements; and overall health of the body!
When lying supine, a patient with an ICV problem often notes pain or slight tenderness in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen (McBurney's point) when pressing down in this region just to the inside of the crest of the ilia. Usually, the patient also feels a knot deep in the abdomen. This pain may be confused with appendicitis initially; however, appendicitis will cause elevated white cell counts and a slight fever.
Normally, the ICV is closed in its relaxed position, and opens only to pass food bolus from the small intestine to the large intestine. Up to 90 percent of ICV problems occur when the valve locks open and allows materials to pass from the larger intestine back into the small intestine, much like a septic tank backing up into the kitchen.
About 10 percent of ICV problems occur when the valve lock is closed. The symptoms are similar to those noted above. In addition, the patient wants to stay in bed and sleep longer, but feels sluggish and weak, and may seem tense or uptight. However, as the patient moves around, he or she becomes more active and feels better.
Surprisingly, ICV problems often manifest in well-intending people who seek to improve their diets by eating more roughage; raw fruits; vegetables; popcorn; nuts; and seeds. Other causes include overeating; eating excessively spiced food, such as chili, salsa, and pepper; eating junk foods, such as chips, cocoa, chocolate or caffeine; and frequent snacking.
Utilizing the lingual ascorbic acid test and the zinc tally test, I have observed consistently low levels of ascorbic acid and zinc when the ICV is locked open. Upon correcting the valve, these tests almost immediately showed improved or normal levels. This demonstrates how the immune nutrients are quickly used up when the ICV is locked open, fighting the poisons from the colon backed up into the small intestine and absorbed into the body.
Health Problems Associated With the Ileocecal Valve
ICV malfunction can cause a large array of health problems, usually associated with the common chronic health issues prevalent in our society. Because of the numerous amount of symptoms associated with the ICV, it is often called the "great mimicker." This broad spectrum of problems is usually related to toxicity and intestinal dysfunction. The following conditions can be directly or indirectly associated with ICV dysfunction:
- dark circles under the eyes;
- ringing in the ears;
- low back pain;
- weakened immune functions;
- cold flu sinuses;
- nausea, faintness and dizziness; and
- indigestion, gas and bloating.
Administering a homeopathic ICV formula orally, four to six times a day, and simply spraying the formula over the ICV area topically, often makes the most significant difference in resolving these symptoms.
As is standard with homeopathy, evaluate each patient's overall symptomatic expression, and match the homeopathic formulas that best address what the body is communicating. Remember: Symptoms are simply the body's innate communicating to us in a specific language. As with chiropractic, homeopathy does not treat symptoms, but uses this language to correct the underlining causes of "dis-ease."
Enjoy the journey!
Frank King, DC, ND
Asheville, North Carolina
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