Do you feel bloated after eating a meal? Suffer from bouts of diarrhea or constipation? Experience severe heartburn after eating certain types of food? These are symptoms which could indicate a problem within your digestive tract, one of the largest organs in the body. If left untreated, serious conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, Celiac disease, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, may occur.
Often times a digestive problem is not detected until disease is diagnosed or the onset of severe symptoms appear. Our digestive tract plays a very important role within our immune system necessary in warding off harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Our digestive health constitutes 75% of our immune system for fighting off disease. Poor digestive health not only diminishes the ability to fight disease, it can also affect the function of your metabolism, needed in maintaining a healthy weight. The digestive system is also responsible for the absorption of food nutrients and vitamins which our body requires to maintain optimal health. Scientific evidence also indicates that our digestive system has a role in balancing our moods, the ability to handle stress, obesity, cholesterol levels and heart dysfunction.
We Can Help!
Holtorf Medical Group physicians are trained to recognize digestive problems and implement effective treatments, which may include dietary changes, supplements or other digestive aids. If you believe you have a digestive problem, please speak to your doctor or call our patient representative at 877-508-1177.
What is a Digestive Problem?
There are a number of different digestive issues that can plague us. Typically, digestive problems can occur when microflora in our intestinal lining has been compromised. Microflora colonizes and nests within the intestinal lining acting as a “barrier” preventing the invasion of bad bacteria or viruses from developing. Microflora is what communicates with the immune system, initiating an attack on “bad” influences which may enter our system. If suboptimal levels of microflora occur, not only is our immune system compromised, we can also develop metabolism and digestive problems.
Common digestive issues include,
Candidiasis, more commonly known as candida or candida overgrowth, occurs when a typically non-threatening yeast, candida albicans (CHS) – found in the digestive tract of healthy individuals – reaches an inappropriate level. Candida overgrowth generally occurs in the esophagus, colon, vagina, small intestine and stomach. As candida develops and settles in, it can produce endotoxins that further promote the spread of yeast overgrowth while inhibiting immunity.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS, a digestive disorder of the large intestine that is characterized by a group of common symptoms, including changes in bowel movements, gas, nausea, and abdominal pain. However, the symptoms can vary from person to person making it difficult to diagnose.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut syndrome, sometimes described as severe intestinal permeability, is a chronic gut condition that can negatively impact the body in many ways.
The gut contains a semipermeable lining that allows nutrients to pass into the bloodstream to be transported to the appropriate location. This barrier also blocks harmful xenobiotics like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles etc. from escaping and damaging other systems. When working properly, nutrients pass through the intestinal wall while larger and harmful particulates remain in the gut to be expelled later.
Leaky gut is caused by breakage of intestinal tight junctions. Tight junctions regulate what passes from the intestines into the bloodstream. Malfunctioning or damaged tight junctions in the digestive tract permit partially digested or oversized particulates to enter the bloodstream. If tight joints are not functioning properly, there is nothing keeping harmful substances found in the intestines from entering the bloodstream and subsequently traveling to other areas of the body which can result in an immune response resulting in significant inflammation.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, SIBO, is a serious condition in which bacteria normally grown in other parts of the gut begin growing in the small intestine. This results in pain, diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies and more.
What Causes Digestive Problems?
Our diet plays a very important role in creating a digestion problem. A diet high in sugar and processed foods can cause a PH change within the intestine, decreasing the production of the microflora our bodies need to ward off disease or bacterial and/or fungus overgrowth.
A thyroid dysfunction may also affect the digestion process when the T3 or T4 thyroid hormones are compromised, as in a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. These thyroid hormones impact the rate of metabolism and also assist in the protection of ulcer formation within the intestinal lining.
What are Symptoms of Digestive Problems?
Symptoms of a digestive problem may not always present right away, yet when they do occur, the symptoms can include:
- Abnormal looking stools
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Joint pain
- Memory issues/brain fog
- Mood swings
- Nutritional and mineral deficiencies
Is Treatment Right for Me?
Treatment of digestive problems include consuming a healthier and more balanced diet, digestive aids, peptide therapy, probiotics or supplements for inflammation. To find out which treatments would benefit you, please talk to your doctor or call 877-508-1177 to speak with a patient representative.