Irritable Bowel Case Reports
Meridian Institute, 1853 Old Donation Parkway, Suite 1
Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common functional disorder of the intestines. Doctors refer to IBS as a functional disorder because there is no sign of disease when the colon is examined. However, doctors believe that people with IBS experience abnormal patterns of colonic movement. People with IBS usually have crampy abdominal pain with painful constipation or diarrhea. In some people, constipation and diarrhea alternate. The cause of IBS is not known, and as yet there is no cure. Often IBS is just a mild annoyance, but for some people it can be disabling.
Because the diagnostic category of “irritable bowel syndrome” did not exist during Edgar Cayce’s lifetime, there are no readings that use that term. Generally the term “colitis” was used to cover the full range of intestinal complaints involving the large bowel (colon). Cayce spoke of several causes of the problem, including spinal lesions and the aftereffects of intestinal flu. The major aspects of Cayce’s therapeutic regimen included dietary changes, use of a tonic containing wild ginseng, wild ginger and pepsin, castor oil packs and colonic irrigations to cleanse the colon, and spinal adjustments.
Four individuals participated in a 10-day live-in instructional/treatment program in May, 1999, in which they were taught the elements of the Edgar Cayce therapies for irritable bowel syndrome, and returned home to do the therapies. Three followed the protocol and returned in November, 1999 for a six-month progress assessment.
Their compliance with the protocol varied, and this was reflected in their degree of improvement. One person did an excellent job of staying with the diet and using the herbal tonic. She reported much improvement in her bowel symptoms and in her attitudes and emotions. Another changed his diet to some degree, but did not consistently use the tonic. He was, however, able to get some colonic irrigations. He reported some improvement in his bowel symptoms. The final person did not comply very well with the protocol, but did make some changes from her previous diet. She did not feel there was much improvement in her bowel symptoms, but that her overall health was better.
Case 1 is a 46-year-old man, an engineer. His IBS began in 1972. His symptoms at the beginning of the project included “low energy level, poor absorption, lack of appetite, pain on lower right side, food allergies, lower back pain, partial blockage of colon at top of descending colon, frequent urination, possible parasites and candida.” When asked to describe his problems in more detail, Person 1 emphasized constipation and frequent urination as his most serious problems.
At the 6-month follow-up, Case 1 reported that his symptoms were “improved,” and his symptoms other than IBS were “improved.” He did not fill out the items on the questionnaire dealing with attitudes and emotions and disability.
Regarding compliance with the protocol, he followed the diet “often,” and used the ginseng tonic “occasionally.” This is fair compliance with the diet and poor compliance with the tonic. He used castor oil packs “a few times a month,” had “four or more” colonics, and received “four or more” spinal adjustments. This is excellent compliance with the castor oil packs, colonics, and adjustments.
In an interview at the 6-month follow-up, Case 1 said:
“Castor oil packs, the diet, and the empowering ideas and the thought process behind it has really been the major points for me. I also like the olive oil. Altogether it has been a very, very fine experience for me. And very, very informative, very, very helpful and resourceful. I feel there is a lot more for me to learn. This is not the end of it. This may be just the beginning of it for me.
“To help myself is the key word, and I think it should be emphasized. I noticed my experience was that it has helped to almost eliminate the pain problem I was having on my right side. It’s not completely gone. It still does get irritated from time to time, depending on what I eat and how I eat and how I feel. But it is a lot better. So I think the diet is a major step forward. It’s very helpful.
“The other part of this project for me has been empowering me. I have gained more of a knowledge of the whole process of healing and why I need to be healed and why I want to be healed. And how I want to gain looking at my illness from the bad point of view that I don’t think I can get rid of it, but now I think I can get rid of it. It’s a whole different picture.”
Note that the pain in the right side was the most significant physical improvement, likely as a result of the castor oil packs and colonics. Better compliance with the diet and tonic might have resulted in more overall improvement.
Case 2 is a 58-year-old woman, a secretary-export clerk. Her IBS began in 1975, after a virus (Cayce often traced colitis to after-effects of flu). Last August she began having diarrhea and blood in her stool, and doctors diagnosed her condition as Crohn’s disease and/or colitis. Her symptoms at the beginning of the project also included substantial anxiety, belching, abdominal cramps, and gas. Otherwise, she said that she has “really been healthier than most people all my life.”
At the 6-month follow-up, Case 2 reported that her IBS symptoms were “about the same,” and her symptoms other than IBS were “improved.” She felt that her IBS degree of disability was “about the same,” and that her attitudes and emotions were “improved.”
Regarding compliance with the protocol, she followed the diet “often,” and used the ginseng tonic “most of the time.” This is fair compliance with the diet and the tonic. She used castor oil packs “a few times since the conference,” had colonics only at the conference, and received “four or more” spinal adjustments. This is poor compliance with the castor oil packs and colonics, and excellent compliance with the adjustments.
In an interview at the 6-month follow-up, Case 2 said:
“I think that I have felt better, just kind of general overall. I’ve been better with my meditation. My attitude has improved. I’ve worked at my ideals. I do that most every day. I think just being here. When I came here, I had been going at breakneck speed and was probably on the verge of collapse. The best thing I did was coming here for the 10 days, regardless of what happened after that. That was just a very super healing experience for me. I’m not talking about bowels, I’m talking about just living in general.”
In written comments at the 6-month follow-up, Case 2 said:
“Protocol is fine – the diet is a major challenge because of TIME!!! Time to wash and cut up salad stuff, time to plan a Cayce meal that my children will eat; I hate to eat in a restaurant and pay money for something I don’t like as well as cheaper items. Friends often prefer to eat place where I can’t find anything appropriate. I have used castor oil packs for years but in the time since I was here in May I have been SO BUSY that there simply hasn’t been time.”
Case 3 is a 66-year-old woman, an artist and retired art instructor. Her IBS began in early July, 1977, associated with the increased stress of an athletic competition (she does running, skiing, swimming and bicycling). At the beginning of the project, she wrote, “I have been through the gamut of symptoms – basic is diarrhea, no blood. Sometimes cramping, sometimes mucous, gas, sometimes nausea, in the past reflux and mouth sores, anxiety, weight loss.” On the symptom checklist, she listed gas, diarrhea, indigestion, anxiety, nausea, and bloating as her major symptoms.
At the 6-month follow-up, Case 3 reported that her IBS symptoms were “much improved,” and her symptoms other than IBS were “worse-sometimes.” She felt that her IBS degree of disability was “much improved,” and that her attitudes and emotions were “much improved.” She said in written comments: “I’ve had a change – bowels much better except now linked to bladder problems. Also have more acid stomach and mouth problems.” This is reflected in her rating of symptoms other than IBS as “worse-sometimes.”
Regarding compliance with the protocol, she followed the diet “most of the time,” and used the ginseng tonic “almost every day.” This is excellent compliance with the diet and the tonic. She used castor oil packs “almost every week,” had colonics only at the conference, and received “Four or more” spinal adjustments. This is excellent compliance with the castor oil packs and spinal adjustments, and poor compliance with the colonics.
In an interview at the 6-month follow-up, Case 3 said:
“It’s not real bad. It’s not like it was at all. That’s fine. I feel 90% better all over, really. It’s helped my emotional and mental abilities. Because when it was really bad – I don’t think I was really, really bad when I came here – but when I was really bad, I couldn’t concentrate. It was making me kind of frantic, too.
“But I really feel good, actually. So I hope it continues.”
Case 3 was the only participant who complied well with both the diet and the tonic, the two major components of the protocol. It is noteworthy that she also had the greatest improvement in bowel symptoms.
Measures of Disease Symptoms and Quality of Life
The above case reports use the retrospective subjective report as the primary measure of change in bowel disease. The project used several other quantitative measures, but these measures were not consistent with each other, i.e., each person became better on some measures and worse on others. This may be because the measures are not able to handle the variety of bowel symptoms adequately, and are therefore not entirely valid. Alternatively there may have been an improvement in overall quality of life due to mental/spiritual factors that is not reflected in bowel symptoms. The interview comments from the participants suggest that both these explanations may have some validity.
The most consistent measure was the global score of the Cayce Comprehensive Symptom Inventory (CCSI). The CCSI looks at psychological symptoms as well as a diversity of physical symptoms. Person 1 had an initial score of 348 and a follow-up score of 287, a 61 point (18%) improvement. Person 2 had an initial score of 191 and a follow-up score of 155, a 36 point (19%) improvement. Person 3 had an initial score of 214 and a follow-up score of 181, a 33 point (15%) improvement.
The physical scale of the SF-36, which primarily measures quality of life, also showed improvements for all three people, although they were slight. Person 1 had an initial score of 34.69 and a follow-up score of 38.22, a 3.53 point (10%) improvement. Person 2 had an initial score of 52.99 and a follow-up score of 53.14, an 0.15 point (<1%) improvement. Person 3 had an initial score of 51.49 and a follow-up score of 55.03, a 3.54 point (7%) improvement.
The three bowel-specific questionnaires were inconsistent. The IBS Symptom Assessment checklist is a 16-item scale of symptoms. Person 1 had an initial score of 50 and a follow-up score of 42, an 8 point (16%) improvement. Person 2 had an initial score of 32 and a follow-up score of 33, 1 point (3%) worse. Person 3 had an initial score of 33 and a follow-up score of 33, remaining the same.
The Gastrointestinal Quality of Life Index is a 36-item quality of life scale, with questions specifically pertaining to the gastrointestinal system. Person 1 had an initial score of 71 and a follow-up score of 100, a 29 point (41%) improvement. Person 2 had an initial score of 128 and a follow-up score of 117, 11 points (9%) worse. Person 3 had an initial score of 97 and a follow-up score of 112, an improvement of 15 points (16%).
The Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale is a 15 item symptom scale. Person 1 had an initial score of 8 and a follow-up score of 9, 1 point (13%) worse. Person 2 had an initial score of 9 and a follow-up score of 6, a 3 point (33%) improvement. Person 3 had an initial score of 7 and a follow-up score of 9, 2 points (14%) worse.