Ileocecal Valve Syndrome

Ileocecal Valve Syndrome


            The ileocecal valve is located at the point where the small intestine opens into the ascending colon.  It is comprised of sphincter muscles, which serve to close the ileum (the Third and lowest division of the small intestine).  In this way the ileocecal valve helps to keep the digesting material in the small intestine until the food has been changed by the digestive juices and absorbed.  It also functions to prevent a reflux of material from the colon back into the small intestine.

The valve passes the mixture of unusable food residue, mucus, bile and other excretions from the small intestine into the colon in small successive doses.  This prevents an overload of material for the body to eliminate.  Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., a colon specialist at the turn of the century, says in his book Colon Hygiene:


One of the consequences of chronic constipation is incompetency of the ileocecal valve.  By over-distension, the intestine becomes so widely dilated that the lips of the valve no longer come in contact and so its check valve action is prevented, and putrefying contents of the colon readily pass backward into the small intestine.  When the ileocecal valve is incompetent, it is, of course, incompetent to gases as well as liquids.  In competency of the ileocecal valve is both a consequence and a cause of constipation.  The valve is often rendered incompetent by over stretching of the bowel, usually the result of obstruction in the descending or pelvic colon.  When once the valve is crippled, the constipation is made worse by the loss of Check valve action, which aids the forward movement of the bowel contents, so that the food residues oscillate back and forth between the large and the small bowel.  The stagnation resulting from this condition readily leads to infection of the cecum and appendicitis and to more remote affections, through extension of the infection backward along the small intestine to the duodenum, stomach, gallbladder, liver and pancreas, causing inflammation of the gall ducts and gallbladder, gallstones, Pancreatitis and possible diabetes, duodenal and gastric ulcers, and various other affections.

Ileocecal Valve disorder could be one cause of chronic conditions.  The toxic material of the colon can enter back into the small intestine and rapidly be reabsorbed.  This allows for various toxins to re-enter the body, which may lead to disease.

At a symposium held at the Royal Medical Society of Great Britain in 1918, sixty doctors presented their views on autointoxication and intestinal toxaemia.  The competency of the ileocecal valve was widely discussed.  Dr. James T. Case and Dr. W.Curtis Brigham, D.O. Chief of Staff and colon specialist at the Monte-Sano Hospital, routinely found that many diseases were caused by the incompetency of the ileocecal valve.  Dr. Brigham detected many dysfunctional ileocecal valves by X-ray examination after a barium meal.  While performing surgery he removed adhesions in the gastrointestinal tract and repaired the ileocecal valve.  Dr. Brigham discovered that these poisons were the cause of many cases of epileptiform seizures.  By eliminating the problem, he cleared up as many as fifty percent of his epilepsy cases

Ileocecal Valve syndrome and Parasites


Medical professionals often overlook the prevalence of parasites in the body, but some believe that parasite infestation can lead to ileocecal valve syndrome.  Irritation or inflammation caused by the parasites can somehow cause the valve to remain open or to close only partially.  When the valve remains open, toxins can be reabsorbed in the bloodstream.  The condition will persist until individual under-goes a parasite cleanse to rid the body of the invaders.

Causes of ileocecal Valve Syndrome


Some natural health professionals feel that ileocecal valve syndrome affects up to fifty percent of the population.  The reasons for the ileocecal valve to remain open are not entirely understood, but may be due in part to poor eating habits, parasites or a lack of fibre in the diet.



Symptoms of Ileocecal Valve Syndrome

  • Constipation / Diarrhoea                                                               Duodenal Ulcers
  • Irregular bowel movements                                                          fatigue
  • Lower right bowel tenderness                                                      acne
  • Immune weakness                                                                         migraines

Dietary Guidelines

  • Eat a diet high in fibre, including whole grains.  Soak the grains and cook to avoid irritating the valve.
  • Avoid constipating food, such as dairy, meat, bananas etc.
  • Eat stewed prunes, figs and raisins for breakfast.
  • Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet.  The softer raw vegetables such as leaf lettuce, spinach, avocados, sprouts and tomatoes should be used first.
  • Reduce the amount of meat eaten.
  • Take a fibre supplement to avoid constipation
  • Implementing a juice fast two or three days a week will help to speed the healing process of the digestive tract.
  • Thermos-cooked grains are healing to the digestive tract.  They are rich in enzymes, vitamins, minerals and protein.  This slow-cook process prevents destruction of the vital enzymes.
  • Millet, buckwheat and basmati brown rice can be eaten for breakfast.  They are easy to digest and very nourishing.
  • Raw vegetables and fruits, steamed vegetables, yams and avocados are all helpful in healing the digestive tract.

Nutritional Supplements


  • Acidophilus:  Acidophilus helps to destroy putrefactive bacteria in the intestinal tract.  Putrefactive bacteria liberate histamine, a toxic substance that is the result of undigested protein.  Vitamin K and B-complex vitamins can be synthesized in the small intestine when acidophilus is present.
  • Antioxidants:  Vitamins A, C, E, selenium and zinc are antioxidants that support the immune system.  They help the body in healing and preventing infection
  • Blue-Green Algae and Chlorophyll:  These supplements are cleansing and healing to the digestive tract and the blood.
  • Calcium/Magnesium:  These minerals help improve the health of the digestive tract.  They help to strengthen the nervous system, regulate heartbeat, and strengthen the muscular system.  Minerals are necessary for enzyme function.
  • Essential Fatty Acids (flaxseed oil, salmon oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil and black currant oil):  Essential fatty acids are needed for a healthy glandular system. They help to regulate hormone function.
  • Plant Digestive Enzymes:  These help digest food when it is eaten.  When they are taken between meals, they help break down the protein in the blood and cells so the body can eliminate toxins.
  • Vitamin A (Beta carotene):  This vitamin is necessary for tissue repair and strengthening the immune system.
  • B-Complex Vitamins:  The B vitamins are essential for intestinal health.  They help strengthen the nervous system and are also essential to the digestion process.
  • Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids:  These are necessary for the adrenal and thyroid glands to supply essential hormones.


Along with calcium, they also help improve collagen supplies and contribute to digestive tract health.



Herbal Supplements


  • Aloe Vera Juice:  Aloe Vera juice helps to heal and repair tissue in the digestive tract.
  • Cat’s Claw:  Cat’s claw is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties that enhances the immune system.  It helps to strip the colon walls of accumulated waste and promote intestinal healing.
  • Comfrey:  Comfrey helps with digestion by promoting the production of pepsin.  It is healing and strengthening on the body.
  • Goldenseal:  Goldenseal helps soothe and heal the digestive system.  It also improves digestion.
  • Grape Seed Extract:  The proanthocyanidins in grape seed extract have impressive antioxidant properties.  They help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
  • Liquorice:  Liquorice is soothing on the digestive tract and has been used to prevent and treat ulcers.  It works as a laxative and reduces inflammation of the digestive system.
  • Pau D’Arco:  This herb helps promote healing and fights disease.
  • Slippery Elm:  Slippery elm is healing to the mucous membranes.  It buffers the effects of irritations and inflammations of the mucous membranes.



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