About IBS, Colitis and Other Functional GI Problems
Silent suffering- that is what most people with chronic digestive problems go through. They are discouraged by their inability to control their symptoms and how unpredictable their condition is. Many people are embarrassed to even speak with their doctor about their symptoms; cramping, bloating, intermittent or constant diarrhea or constipation. Many people will find themselves on the internet searching for answers. Even after seeing a doctor, the prognosis and treatment do not hold much hope for people.
Many people who have been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), chronic constipation or Colitis are given some options; be put on medications to slow down or speed up GI function or learn “to live with it.”
IBS, colitis, reflux or GERD, diarrhea and constipation are all considered functional gastrointestinal disorders. This means that there is a problem with the function of the system, not the structure. As a result, common testing like endoscopy and colonoscopy are usually negative. But, just because your doctor doesn’t ‘see’ anything wrong with your intestines, doesn’t mean something isn’t wrong. According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, these disorders are the most commonly presented GI illnesses seen by doctors in primary care or gastroenterology.
Functional GI and motility disorders generally cannot be diagnosed in a traditional way. No inflammatory, infectious, or structural abnormality can be seen by commonly used examination, x-ray, or laboratory test. Gastrointestinal motility is defined by the movements of the digestive system, and the transit of the contents within it.
Symptoms commonly include…
- abdominal distension
Problems occur when an imbalance begins in the digestive tract. The entire system functions from north to south, so if there is a problem in the stomach, eventually there will be a problem in the intestines. These areas are all depending on each other for normal function. For example, if you have reflux or constant burning after eating, your doctor might prescribe a medication to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces. These medications are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. But in many cases, they cause more damage than you can believe. This is because not everyone with burning or reflux has too much stomach acid! The doctor didn’t test your acid levels, he/she prescribed that drug based on your symptoms! Believe it or not, a LOW stomach acid condition called hypochlorhydria causes the same burning symptoms and reflux as high stomach acid.
Let’s say you have burning in your stomach and chest and it is caused by low stomach acid and your doctor recommends an acid blocker or PPI drug like Prilosec, Zantac, Pepsid, Tagamet, the Little Purple Pill, or you just take Maalox or TUMS every day to deal with the discomfort. You can be creating a long-term nightmare! If your stomach acid is low (which it is 60% of the time), you are now making it EVEN LOWER with these drugs.
Your stomach acid is a critical barrier that protects you from infection (from bacteria and parasites that are constantly getting into your mouth) and is the first step in all protein digestion. If you lower it, your digestion becomes poor (and you can suffer from protein malabsorption) and you open yourself up to bacterial, yeast and parasite infections!
How do you know what your symptoms are from and how to best treat your condition?
There are many similarities in IBS & Colitis.
Both can cause similar symptoms throughout the gut & body:
- Abdominal pain, fullness, gas, bloating, acid reflux
- *IBS-C (with constipation) vs IBS-D (with diarrhea) or can fluctuate IBS-A
- Rectal bleeding (sometimes)
- Severe internal cramps/muscle spasms in the region of the pelvis
- Weight loss and various associated complaints
- Symptoms come and go
- Relief sometimes after bowel movement
Common Causes of IBS:
- Linked to gut infection (bacterial, fungal, yeast, parasitic, viral)
- Abnormalities between the gut flora or the gut immune system
- Overactive sympathetic nervous system
- Food sensitivities may be present
Natural Metabolic Approach to Treating IBS/Colitis:
- Remove triggers to the immune system
- Modulate/balance the immune system
- Correct the damaging effects on the gut & brain
How do you treat these diseases naturally, without surgery and successfully?
First, using lab tests- not just guessing at what the problem is- and using functional lab ranges to diagnose the issues. Secondly, by removing the triggers to the disease and implementing the correct supplementation to support good intestinal health. We work closely together to treat underlying causative and contributory factors so your problem is resolved. It takes time, but the results can be life changing.