What is the Ileocecal Valve?

help-with-constipationConstipation and diarrhea, are some of the main symptoms pelvic floor patients complain of. I recently discovered during a cranial sacral treatment that my valve was closed a bit.

At the end of the small intestine there is a small valve which allows for the passage digested food into the colon, where it becomes ‘waste’ ready for elimination.  When the valve is functioning normally it’s a one way system and ‘waste’ is not able to pass back through it. But sometimes, spicy or roughage-type foods, stress or emotional trauma irritate the valve and cause it to stick shut or open. 

If the Ileocecal Valve (ICV) remains open or closed it can cause a wide variety of symptoms including:

  • diarrhea/constipation
  • abdominal pain and bloating
  • nausea
  • bladder infections
  • pain around the heart
  • right shoulder pain
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • right side pelvic pain
  • flu symptoms
  • tinnitus
  • low back pain
  • heart fluttering
  • headache

If the Ileocecal Valve sticks in the open position – a ‘backflow’ of toxic material can exhaust antioxidants such as Vitamin C as it works to detoxify the fecal material.  If this bacteria passes back into the small intestine it could be absorbed into the bloodstream, ending up in the kidneys, ultimately causing a bladder infection. If the Ileocecal Valve remains closed this can result in constipation.

How to get relief when the Ileocecal Valve is stuck open

According to by Dr. David Williams, you can get relief in one of two ways. First, you can sometimes hold the valve shut for several minutes. This is done by placing your hand over the valve and while pushing in, pull up toward the left shoulder. The second way is to place a cold pack made of cold water or ice over the valve for about 15 to 20 minutes. This process can be repeated if necessary.

Massage the Ileocecal Valve for constipation relief

Start by lying on the floor – and having some massage oil handy. To locate the Ileocecal Valve area – place your left thumb on your navel, your right thumb on your right hip (highest part of your pelvic bone). Now, imagine a line connecting those two points and find the middle of that line.

Place all your fingers 3 inches below the middle of that line (should be close to the ileocecal valve)

With all of your fingers, press firmly and find the (possibly) tender spot. ( It will be like finding a golf ball under a pillow)

Once you’ve found it, use some oil and massage it in a circular motion. Massage with medium pressure – for five seconds.

Then using your left fist, briskly stimulate the bicep muscle on your right upper arm as it is the reflex area connected to the ileocecal valve .

Massage 3 times a day before meals – Tenderness should subside after a week or two if you keep at it.

Consider also the way you chew your food

chew food ICVYou must chew your food as thoroughly as possible. If you don’t chew your food to liquid form, you are sending boulders through the tube to the ileocecal valve.

This is particularly true for the foods such as popcorn, raw nuts, and especially raw salads. You must chew these types of food thoroughly. Many people “half-chew” popcorn or nuts, as these food only tend to taste good the first couple of chews. So ensure that you chew all your food well.

Consider going to a Chiropractor for an adjustment

The nerve from the right side (Thoracic 12) is the main nerve that supplies the ICV. This nerve can be partially blocked, as in a spinal fixation, or irritated, as caused by a hyper-mobile irritation of the nerve root. Either way, the normal regulatory function of the nerve to the circular muscles of the ileocecal valve is compromised.

For other tips on relieving constipation, we have a whole page on it here