The Ileocecal Valve: One Valve, Many Problems
Have you ever even heard of the ileocecal valve? Do you know where it is or what it does? Didn’t think so… but this one little valve sure can cause a lot of problems, so you might just want to learn a few things about it!
The ileocecal valve connects the ileum (the last part of the small intestine which is long and very narrow) with the cecum (a pouch-like structure at the beginning of the large intestine that receives waste from the small intestine).
What’s its function? The ileocecal valve allows digested food to pass from the small intestine into your large intestine and, once through, it prevents these foods from backing up again into the small intestine. So basically, it’s like a one-way street.
The problems begin when the valve gets stuck in either the open position, allowing digested food to back up into the small intestine, or the closed position, not allowing digested food to pass into the large intestine. This condition is known as ileocecal valve syndrome.
The symptoms of ileocecal valve syndrome include headaches, nausea, dizziness, low back pain, right shoulder pain, flu-like symptoms and constipation or diarrhea. What causes the ileocecal valve to get stuck? The list includes dehydration, overeating, not chewing your food long enough, emotional stress, carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and spicy foods.
The cure for ileocecal valve syndrome? Eliminating certain foods for several weeks, such as raw fruits and vegetables (celery, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes), nuts, seeds, popcorn, spicy foods (salsa, cayenne pepper, hot peppers, chili powder) and stimulants (coffee, tea, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate).
Luckily, there is a natural treatment for ileocecal valve sydrome! One of the best ways to deal with ileocecal valve syndrome, however, is to stay on top of your chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments, along with dietary changes, may help to open or close the ileocecal valve. If ignored, digestive disorders such as ileocecal valve syndrome can lead to far more serious problems.