Gastrointestinal problems are among the most common medical conditions, yet they are also the least reported. Turn on the tube and you’ll realize just how widespread issues like heartburn, acid reflux, excess gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea really are. From probiotics to antacids, we’re regularly bombarded with commercials that delicately deal with the indelicate subjects of the gut. Still, sufferers continue to avoid their doctors, partly because they believe their symptoms are normal, and partly because, let’s face it, those issues can be embarrassing.
But GI conditions may lead to more than just a fear of spicy food. They oftentimes lie at the root of many serious diseases. Heart disease, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, allergies, mood disorders, Celiac disease, GERD and thyroid disease are all affected by what goes on in your gut.
The gut plays a vital role in processing nutrients that come into the body. Various parts of the gastrointestinal system synthesize hormones, extract nutrients and remove toxins from the body. When something goes wrong with the gut, the effects can reach far beyond a few belches or a queasy tummy. The following list includes just a few of the many consequences of poor gut health.
Disorders Linked to GI Issues:
- Food allergies
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Autoimmune diseases (such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis)
- Heart disease
- Inability to digest nutrients, leading to serious conditions
Treating Gut Issues with Functional Medicine
While many doctors continue to dole out prescriptions that merely treat the symptoms of GI problems, a smaller number of doctors are learning to take gut instincts more seriously, looking to the complex interactions between bodily systems, nutritional requirements and hormonal balances to find the root cause of diseases.
They refer to their discipline as “functional medicine,” and are concerned with examining biological function to find core clinical imbalances that are causing your symptoms, and then seeking ways to correct them. By bringing the various systems of the body into their correct balance, they can restore health and correct bodily function.
Basic Principles of Functional Medicine
- Primary prevention (preventing a disease before it begins).
- Seeking underlying causes rather than simply treating symptoms.
- The belief that every person has a unique biochemical balance that derives from genetics and environmental differences.
- The belief that restoring and preserving that balance is vital to healthy function.
- Patient-centered rather than illness-centered care.
- Emphasizing dynamic balance and the interconnectivity of all bodily systems.
- Viewing health as a positive vitality, not only being free of disease.
Get the Guts to Be Healthy
Functional doctors like myself address GI conditions with a variety of therapies, including nutritional supplementation to replace missing nutrients, stem cell therapies to repair gut tissues, neurotransmitter and adrenal gland balancing to regain proper mood and energy, and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy to provide the hormones that the body needs for proper functioning.
If you suffer from GI conditions, it may be time to put down the Tums and get serious about your health. Give the DaSilva Institute of Anti-aging, Regenerative & Functional Medicine a call at 888-832-7458 to schedule a functional medicine consultation. We’ll get to the root cause of your symptoms, and get you on the track to discovering health without limits.