Chronic digestive symptoms can make life miserable. We all love to eat, but when eating inevitably leads to diarrhea or constipation (or both!), It definitely takes a toll on the experience. Many of us eliminate loose stools, constipation, gas, and bloating with a laugh or an apology. However, persistent digestive issues may indicate a more serious underlying condition. They can also lead to malabsorption which, over time, directs us to chronic degenerative disease. Chronic diarrhea or constipation is a red flag that must be addressed!
Some people think it’s okay to poop (with a lot of reading material nearby). However, a saddle should last a few seconds, slide easily, and require no effort. The stool should not be too hard or too small; they should be pasty to formed. Other people laugh at their gaseous spouse, but again gas and bloating are both common signs of pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
The causes of constipation can be as simple as chronic dehydration and lack of movement, to more complex ones such as food sensitivities or problems with bile production (bile salts play a key role in proper elimination). Certain foods often cause constipation, such as gluten, dairy, white rice, bread, and pasta, as do certain medications such as antidepressants, narcotics, and iron pills. Constipation can be a sign of a more serious illness, such as SIBO. SIBO, or Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth, is a condition in which otherwise beneficial bacteria end up in the small intestine instead of the colon. This extremely uncomfortable and very common disorder causes chronic bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation depending on the type of bacteria involved.
What about diarrhea? Food intolerances can also be a major player, most commonly dairy products (lactose intolerance), as can conditions of fat malabsorption resulting in loose, loose stools. Antibiotics, antacids, and blood pressure medications can alter the natural balance of the intestinal flora, leading to diarrhea. Almost all of us have suffered from food poisoning; However, many are unaware that the underlying pathogenic organisms responsible (such as Salmonella, Giardia and E Coli) are often not completely eliminated and persist for years – a main cause of bowel syndrome or “IBS”.
Crohn’s disease, celiac colitis, and ulcerative colitis are all autoimmune inflammatory diseases that affect the gut, causing frequent trips to the toilet, diarrhea, and sometimes blood and mucus in the stool. It is important to rule out these conditions, as they can lead to severe malnutrition, which can lead to much more serious degenerative diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease / dementia.
Antibiotics and steroids may provide temporary relief, but in most cases they will exacerbate and eventually worsen the underlying disease. At Vital Health, we take the time to identify the underlying causes, so that we can ‘treat to cure’. Acupuncture works powerfully to balance and strengthen the digestive organs, while high-precision dietary supplements create the environment in which the gut can repair itself.
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Darcy Greenwald has a Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine, is a Licensed Acupuncturist, is Board Certified in Western Herbalism, and has extensive training in Nutritional Therapy. She has over 20 years of experience in natural medicine.
Darcy is a “health sleuth,” she looks beyond the picture of your symptoms and researches WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Darcy is currently accepting new patients and providing natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene.
Visit our website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Darcy, check out the list of upcoming health classes, and read other informative articles. Darcy can be reached at 208-765-1994 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have on this matter.