No one is immune from the occasional stomach ache, but when bloating, gassiness, diarrhea or constipation become the norm… it’s time to investigate. Some physicians even go so far as to declare that all diseases start in the gut!
Conventional Approaches to Treating Gut Issues
Have you already seen your primary care doctor about your chronic gut issues, only to be given a prescription to deal with the symptoms and told to come back in 4 weeks if things aren’t better?
Perhaps you are dealing with regular bloating, acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), diarrhea, stomach cramps, or even fatigue and brain fog as well?
Most likely your doctor recommended antacids (like tums, pepto-bismol) or proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) to deal with “overactive” stomach acid or some other medication to deal with the symptoms.
While some medicines may slightly ease symptoms in the short term, they can seriously harm you in the long-term because you’ll never explore why you have the bloating, diarrhea, or heartburn in the first place!
This is emblematic of the conventional medicine approach – making a diagnosis based on symptoms, and then basing treatment on symptom relief.
The problem with this is that there are many reasons that could cause you to experience chronic digestive distress, and unless you understand the true root cause of what’s ultimately leading to the observed digestive symptoms, you don’t know how to truly correct the problem.
Ongoing problems in the gut then often lead to damage of the delicate intestinal wall. This damage increases the permeability of the wall and begins to allow undigested food particles, bacteria, and other toxins to enter directly into the blood stream. This then causes a defensive inflammatory response, because 70-80% of the immune system resides in the gut. This is what is referred to a Leaky Gut Syndrome.
Getting To The Root Cause Of Symptoms
While the symptoms of 100s of gut diseases are literally the same (bloating, gassiness, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain), they may be caused by very different mechanisms that each require a specialized approach.
That’s why it’s dangerous to mask the warning symptoms with over-the-counter remedies like antacids, laxatives or anti-diarrheals – without investigating the true root causes.
In the 1990’s, we made incredible advances in understanding that our health is deeply linked to our microbiome. The microbiome is a collection of microbes including bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses that live on and inside the human body.
The bacteria in our gut microbiome help digest our food, protect our immune system, fight harmful bacteria or viruses, and produce important nutrients like B12, thiamine (B1) and riboflavin.
They also produce important neurotransmitters that allow for proper brain function. This is why people with poor gut health oftentimes report brain fog!
Unfortunately, these new advances in science take an average of 17 years to find their way from the scientific literature into conventional doctors’ practices. That’s why you would be well served to see functional medicine providers, like our team at Carolina Center for Functional Medicine.
The Functional Medicine Approach to Treating Gut Issues
The functional medicine approach to healing the gut relies on advanced lab testing, followed by creating a custom-tailored, personalized protocol to restore your body’s innate healing potential, to bring your body back into balance.
Since the gut impacts our health on so many levels, it’s the first place we focus when we explore a patient’s case. This helps us to determine whether they have issues like leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or its cousin small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO).
The lab tests help us arrive at a precise diagnosis, so we understand how to address the underlying dysfunction for good – whether it’s unresolved stealth infections, environmental toxins, food allergies or other endocrine or system-wide issues.
Sadly, conventional medicine is not set up to untangle these complex, interdependent issues. Oftentimes, patients have been told, “You have a sensitive stomach” which can be interpreted as, “Just grin and bear it.”
But what it could actually mean is a serious gut imbalance that might have far-reaching consequences for your overall health.
Don’t just chalk it up to having a “sensitive” stomach or “getting older”. Seek out care from a functional medicine-trained provider to avoid compromising your long-term health.
At Carolina Center for Functional Medicine, our expert team is trained to investigate the symptoms and causes of your chronic digestive disorder and assemble an effective treatment plan that’s supported by the appropriate lab tests.
If you have been experiencing chronic symptoms that may be connected with digestive problems and are looking for answers, schedule an appointment with Carolina Center for Functional Medicine today!
Take The First Step Today On Your
Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make a decision to become a patient. We are happy to answer any questions you have to determine if Carolina Center for Functional Medicine is right for you.