Last Updated on September 10, 2020
I often get asked questions about the ileocecal valve.
All sorts of gut issues, including SIBO, can lead to tenderness in the area of the ileocecal valve. The valve is located approximately halfway between the belly button and the right hip bone.
There are three sections of the small bowel and one major section of the large bowel. The ilium is the last portion of the small intestine, and it connects to the cecum, the first region of the large intestine. The ileocecal valve is a one-way valve that connects the ilium to the bowel.
The ileocecal valve only opens for brief periods to allow food to pass through. Nerves in the region help control the opening and closing of the ileocecal valve. These nerves and cells lining the ileocecal valve can be damaged by toxins produced by bacteria such as Campylobacter or Shigella. Some of these toxins are so potent that they can partially paralyze the ileocecal valve.
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I have seen many patients over the years with ileocecal issues. Fortunately, these issues can be fixed.
If you have tenderness in the ileocecal region, I would inquire as to whether you also have pain in the lower back or right side of the body. You might be feeling pushing, griping, stabbing, or shooting pain. This pain is linked to ileocecal valve dysfunction.
Other symptoms of ileocecal valve problems include gas and bloating.
A smart step to take would be to get a comprehensive stool analysis. You want to know if there are any bacteria, yeast, or parasites in your gut that could be interfering with proper ileocecal function.
I had a client whose most prominent symptom was tremendous pain around the ileocecal valve. In cases like that, you may be able to get some relief by using a nice hot pack with castor oil while gently massaging the abdomen. Chiropractors and osteopaths can also sometimes help with ileocecal pain. It’s also handy to learn how to gently massage the ileocecal valve on your own while you’re addressing the underlying cause of the dysfunction.