Gastrointestinal disorders encompass Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis and gastroesophageal reflux, food allergies, parasites, dysbiosis, and a number of less common entities. Patients may present with abdominal pain, cramps, gas, bloating, food intolerances, or changes in bowel habits. There are often additional symptoms such as fatigue, muscle and joint pains, headaches, memory and other cognitive problems, depression, insomnia and reduced libido.
Leaky gut occurs in many patients: the intestinal lining is inflamed and damaged by food allergies, toxins, drugs, or pathogenic organisms, and materials are absorbed that should not be. These materials pass through the blood stream to the liver and other organs, causing toxic reactions. Intense fatigue, arthritis, and constitutional symptoms may progress to the point of total disability. Many illnesses are heavily influenced by gastrointestinal pathology. Autism and migraine headaches are examples of the gut-illness relationship.
Standard medical evaluations include upper and lower endoscopy, ultrasound and C-T scanning. However, these procedures often fail to establish the cause of symptoms, or provide a rationale for treatment. Patients are offered symptomatic therapies such as steroids, antidepressants and sedatives. These drugs may alleviate symptoms but provide no cure. It is common for a patient to go on for years without significant relief.
How We Treat Gastrointestinal Disorders
Our approach is different. We address these problems from a functional perspective. What are the food choices and the eating habits? Are meals omitted? Does the patient eat standing up, in a crowd, talking on a cell phone, driving in traffic? Is food thoroughly chewed or swallowed whole?
We also test for food allergies, abnormal gut bacteria, parasites, Candida, abnormal digestion and absorption, and markers of gut inflammation. We then evaluate liver detoxification, tissue transglutaminase and IgA antibody tests for gluten intolerance. Heavy metals, red cell fatty acids, trace minerals, urine organic acids, vitamin and mineral levels. These tests often provide guidance for appropriate therapy.
Nutritional supplements frequently help. Special probiotic and prebiotic formulas, beneficial bacteria and their supports, are mainstays of treatment. Zinc, glutamine, peppermint, essential fatty acids, phospholipids, and butyrate may also provide improvement where no prescription drug has helped. Sometimes antibiotics in special combinations and dosages are useful. Elimination of dairy, gluten and soy may be important, especially in autistic children.
Sometimes maintenance drugs such as aspirin, NSAIDS, steroids, statins, and antidepressants are responsible for unresolved gastrointestinal ailments, and eliminating them can provide great relief.
At times it becomes possible to avoid or eliminate potent immunosuppressive agents. Recommended surgeries may become unnecessary, especially removal of the gall bladder. Certain diets can actually eliminate gall stones. Detoxification, heavy metal removal, and liver rejuvenation are all part of a good digestive system rehabilitation program.
Through a rational and systematic approach, gastrointestinal illness can be resolved, even after years of difficulty. Other health problems, thought to be unrelated, will then improve, sometimes miraculously.
- This information is provided for informational purposes only. Never add, change, or discontinue medication or treatment without first consulting your doctor. To make an appointment with a doctor at the Institute for Progressive Medicine, please call 949-600-5100.