Ileocecal Valve Syndrome

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

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Ileocecal Valve Syndrome. Ron Levine/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Often called "The Great Mimicker," ileocecal valve (ICV) syndrome is often overlooked due to many symptoms that can be related to other disorders and imbalances.

The ileocecal valve is located between the ileum, the last portion of the small intestine, and the cecum, the first portion of the large intestine. Its function is to allow digested food to pass from the small intestine into the large intestine. The ileocecal valve keeps these waste materials from backing up into the small intestine. It is intended to be a one-way valve, opening to allow processed foods to pass through. Additional names for this valve formed by two folds of the mucous membrane include Bauhin's valve, ileocolic valve, and valvula coli.

How Ileocecal Valve Syndrome Works

When the ileocecal valve is stuck, waste products can back up into the small intestine, similar to what happens with a backed-up kitchen sink drain. This disturbs digestion and creates unhealthy toxins that are absorbed into the body.

Symptoms of ICV Syndrome

This disorder is often overlooked by medical professionals. A dysfunctional ileocecal valve can result in a combination of symptoms, including:

  • Right shoulder pain
  • Right side pelvic pain
  • Low back pain
  • Pain surrounding the heart
  • Flu symptoms
  • Tinnitus
  • Nausea
  • Syncope/near syncope (fainting)
  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Facial pallor
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Bowel disturbances (diarrhea/constipation)

Causes of ICV Syndrome

Emotions and dietary habits can play roles in this intestinal disorder. This isn't surprising considering that the location of the ileocecal valve in the solar plexus chakra is related to the digestive organs. The solar plexus chakra is the third chakra, in the abdomen right above the bellybutton, and is considered an energy center that maintains personal power, self-esteem, and confidence.

Stress and the "fight or flight" response also affect the nervous system as blood rushes to other organs and muscles throughout the body. Additionally, the bowel is where emotions are being held in and when there is a release, an emotional release may also occur. Those with a closed ICV may have deep-seated emotions that need to be let loose in order to heal properly.

Additional physical imbalances related to the solar plexus chakra may include:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Intestinal tumors
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreatitis
  • Indigestion
  • Anorexia/bulimia
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Adrenal imbalances
  • Arthritis
  • Colon disease

Preventing ICV Syndrome

  • Hydration: Dehydration is a precursor to a stuck ileocecal valve. Drinking plenty of water helps to heal ICV syndrome
  • Emotions: Emotions can make us sick to our stomachs. Keeping a balanced and healthy emotional state is key.
  • Food: To avoid ICV syndrome one should limit or eliminate certain foods, such as carbonated drinks, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, raw foods, and spicy foods.
  • Eating schedule: In addition to what one eats, it's important to keep a watch on one's consumption habits. Several bad habits can develop, such as overeating, eating too frequently, eating too quickly, eating sensitive foods, and under-chewing food.

ICV Syndrome Treatment Options

Treatments that might aid in the ICV syndrome healing process, from diet to exercises that can be performed daily or with the guidance of a doctor, include:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Applied kinesiology
  • Homeopathy
  • Temporary elimination diet. Foods to be avoided for two to three weeks include:
    • Roughage: Popcorn, nuts, potato chips, pretzels, seeds, whole grains
    • Raw fruits and vegetables: Celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes
    • Spicy foods: Chili powder, hot peppers, salsas, black and cayenne pepper, paprika, cloves, cinnamon
    • Stimulants: Alcoholic drinks, cocoa, chocolate, caffeine products