Cause #1 Hidden Infections:
Chronic infections of the digestive system are more common than you think. Infections can be from bacteria, parasites, yeast or fungus. These “critters”, as I like to call them, create inflammation of the delicate digestive tissues. They also rob your body of precious nutrients.
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a very common bacterial infection of the stomach. It is estimated that up to 50% of the population is infected with H. pylori. This bacteria destroys the parietal cells in the stomach lining. These are the cells that normally produce hydrochloric acid, or stomach acid. When these cells are destroyed, stomach acid production actually decreases, and this results in poor digestion and symptoms of bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn, or acid reflux.
Our stomach acid also serves another purpose – to kill off the bacteria and parasites that come into our body from the foods we eat. When these “critters” get past the stomach they usually set up a new home somewhere in your intestines, creating further inflammation, irritation, and GI upset.
Another way we get hidden infections is after taking antibiotics. You see, antibiotics are not selective in their killing – they kill both good/beneficial bacteria and bad/harmful bacteria. Because the beneficialbacteria’s population decreases after antibiotics, this leaves room for other “critters” (parasites, yeast,fungus) to now grow and populate the intestines, creating inflammation, irritation, and GI upset.
Testing for hidden infections is easy. It is just a simple stool test.
Cause #2 Hidden Food Allergies/Sensitivities:
Hidden food allergies/sensitivities are a common cause of digestive problems. The most common allergies are to dairy, wheat/gluten, soy, eggs, fish/shellfish, and nuts. Food allergies are known as the “great mimicker” because they can cause just about any kind of symptom. Food allergies/sensitivities can be assessed with blood testing, but the best way is with an elimination/challenge diet.
For patients who find tremendous relief after removing allergic foods from their diet, I like to give a word of warning: it is important to be checked for a hidden parasite infection after about 6-12 months. This is because after the inflammation and irritation die down and the GI tract starts to heal itself, parasites will usually come out of hiding and create new problems in your body.
Cause #3 Cortisol Imbalance:
Your digestive tract is lined by immune cells that are regulated by cortisol, your body’s main stress hormone. When your cortisol is out of balance (either too high or too low) you become prone to developdigestive symptoms, like bloating, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea. A good example that most people are familiar with are ulcers that are caused by and/or exacerbated by stress.
In general, the more stress you are under, the more out of balance you cortisol becomes. As cortisol gets depleted your digestive system then starts reacting poorly to foods and can develop food sensitivities/allergies. You also run the risk of picking up pathogenic organisms like parasites, Candida, H. pylori, etc.
Cortisol levels are mainly affected by chronic stress. The problem is once the chronic stress has passed (say from a divorce, or death of a loved one) the cortisol does not usually go back into balance on its own. It usually stays out of balance for months and years, causing further havoc in your body.
Cause #4 Detoxification Problems:
Improper digestion of protein, carbs and fat leads to putrefaction, or rotting, of foods in your intestines. These undigested foods can release up to of 33 known carcinogenic (cancer causing) compounds into the bloodstream. This toxic mess needs to be eliminated from the body. It is the liver’s job to take care of this toxic mess. All digestive problems end up putting a huge burden on the liver. Therefore, most patients with long-standing digestive problems usually need a thorough liver detoxification program in addition to their GI program.
What to expect from us:
Proper laboratory testing is the key to figuring out the cause of your digestive problems.
The best way to test the GI tract for infections is with a GI panel. This requires four stool samples. Don’t worry…we will walk you through the details of the collection process so you can easily do it at home.
The best way to test for food allergies/sensitivities is with an elimination/challenge diet. For those patients who would rather have a test that is quicker and easier, blood testing is the next option.
Individual treatment programs vary, but always include advice on lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, sleep,stress management, etc.) and nutritional supplements (herbs, vitamins, minerals).
Take the Next Step:
Call our office today and talk to Dr. Carri directly to see if you are a good candidate for our program.