Digestion Problems are Common, but Not Normal
Common digestion problems include bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, acid reflux, or GERD, ulcers, Helicobacter pylori, and nausea. I have helped hundreds of people address each of these problems safely, effectively, and naturally.
How to Fix Your Digestive Tract
My approach to dealing with the root cause of these digestion issues may require:
- An elimination diet. An elimination diet means removing foods that are common causes of inflammation in the gut. It can be tricky to determine which foods are specifically causing trouble for you, but common ones are dairy and gluten. You would strictly eliminate these for 3 weeks. Then try reintroducing them one at a time, with 3 days between introductions to determine which is the culprit food. The reaction to the food may not occur immediately when you reintroduce it, but it may be hours to days later.
- Food sensitivity testing. This is a blood test that checks your blood for antibodies to foods. If your immune system is making antibodies to food, the antibodies will bind to the target on the food (antigen). This antigen-antibody complex can deposit in your gut (or elsewhere) and create inflammation. Inflamed gut tissue doesn’t function as it should resulting in digestive symptoms.
- Cleaning out your gut of unwanted pathogens like certain types of bacteria or yeast. You can do SIBO testing to determine if there is a bacteria overgrowth in your small intestine. Frankly, I rarely do SIBO testing. The test costs about $300 to do and only provides very minimal information (yes you do have bacteria overgrowth or no you don’t). Cleaning bacteria overgrowth out of the small intestine without testing works and costs less than the test. You can also do stool testing to check for bacteria (good and bad), yeast, and parasites in your large intestine. If you’ve tried “gut cleanse kits” from the health food store, those don’t work long term and this is different.
- Restoring beneficial flora. In some cases, putting good bacteria (probiotics) into your gut helps, in others, it can make the situation worse. I can help you determine whether this is appropriate for you or not.
- Repairing the wall of the digestive tract. The wall of your digestive tract needs vitamin A, Short Chain Fatty Acids like butyrate, l-glutamine, n-acetyl glucosamine, good bacteria, and soluble fiber to be healthy. Repairing the gut wall is ineffective, however, without addressing some of the preceding steps first.
It may sound complicated, but I can expertly guide you through the process.
Testing for Digestion Problems
If you are struggling with digestion problems, then testing may help reveal what the underlying issues are, so that we can properly treat them once and for all. There are always alternatives to testing, though, such as elimination diets or cleaning out the digestive tract of unhealthy organisms, without testing.
Digestive Tract Tests
Once testing provides detailed answers about what exactly is going on, then we can more efficiently address the problem. Testing is not mandatory, there are always non-testing options. You should be aware that your employee benefits may cover the cost of lab testing. If your benefits are structured as a Health Spending Account, you can usually put testing through there. If they are set up in such a way that you get a set amount each year to spend on certain items, like visits with a naturopathic doctor. Then you may have coverage under a category called “Lab Testing” or “Diagnostic Testing”.
Reach out to me if you have any questions about my targeted approach to digestion problems. Call me at 416-481-0222 or email me at PFrankND@ForcesofNature.ca or DM me on your favourite social platform.
Dr. Pamela has been in practice as a naturopathic doctor in Toronto since 1999. She has been the recipient of numerous “Best Naturopath in Toronto” awards. She is registered with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.
Dr. Pamela Frank uses a natural treatment approach that may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, diet, vitamins, supplements, and other natural remedies to restore balance and provide long-term resolution of almost any health problem.