Digestive System Conditions
Your Inner Eco-system
There is an entire living ecosystem in your gut, with over 20,000-30,000 species of bacteria, funguses, viruses, amoeba, protozoa and parasites calling it home. This dynamic, living ecosystem is known as the microbiome. There are actually more bacteria in your gut than there are cells in your entire body, making you, essentially, more bacteria than human. It’s been estimated that there are 100 trillion bacteria in your body compared to 10 trillion cells, making the number of bacteria in your gut 10 times the number of cells in your entire body!
These bacteria facilitate digestion, provide nutrients, help form the immune system, reduce inflammation, synthesize some important vitamins, and fight ‘bad’ bacteria. Many people have an imbalance of the gut bacteria—that is, they either have too much of the bad bacteria or too little of the good bacteria. This condition is known as intestinal dysbiosis which is essentially the lack of symbiosis or healthy homeostasis.
If our digestive system is not a hospitable environment, these naturally-occurring bacteria may die or be unable to function properly, cause inflammation, trigger autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders and other health problems. Unfortunately, many substances can disrupt the natural ecosystem in our gut such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, antacids, alcohol, environmental toxins and allergenic food. Many neurologic conditions such as depression may actually be partially caused by inflammation in the gut so we have to be aware that there is communication between the gut and the brain.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a bowel disorder characterized by abdominal pain and cramping, intestinal gas and bloating, as well as changes in bowel movements without a known reason.
What are the symptoms?
Primary symptoms of IBS include:
- Change in bowel movements
- Feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Abdominal distention
IBS sufferers will also commonly have gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), symptoms relating to the genitourinary system (such as bladder or urinary tract infections), chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, headache, backache and psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Some studies indicate that up to 60% of persons with IBS also have a psychological disorder, typically anxiety or depression.
What causes IBS?
While it is not known what causes IBS, it may begin after an infection, the use of an antibiotic, a stressful life event, or with advanced age without any other medical indicators. Birth control pills, steroid medications or anti-inflammatory drugs can also contribute to ill health of the GI tract and contribute to IBS.
What is colitis?
Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that results in chronic swelling of the digestive tract, usually in the large intestine (colon) and the rectum. Colitis generally refers to two common types of conditions, either Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, or ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Many patients with these conditions exhibit diarrhea, abdominal pain or bloating, weight loss, and frequent bowel movements.
It is estimated that as many as 1.4 million Americans have colitis, mainly Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. Males and females appear to be affected equally. Colitis tends to run in families.
What causes colitis?
Colitis can have many different causes, including:
- Acute and chronic infections, including food poisoning
- Inflammatory disorders, including “Leaky Gut”
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Lack of blood flow to the colon
- Past radiation to the large bowel
- High sugar, low fiber diets
- Fatty acid imbalances in the colon
- Heavy metal excess
What are the symptoms?
- Abdominal bloating
- Abdominal pain that is constant or intermittent
- Bloody stools
- Rectal bleeding
- Constant urge to have a bowel movement
- Constipation, despite the urge to have a bowel movement
- Increased intestinal gas
- Weight loss
What is a candida overgrowth?
Candida Albicans is a naturally occurring yeast that is normally held in balance by your body’s friendly bacteria. It is present in small amounts along the gastrointestinal tract (the intestines and the mouth), the vagina and on the skin. When this delicate balance is compromised, due to overuse of antibiotics, birth control pills, steroids, prolonged exposure to chemicals, pesticides or molds, stress, hormonal changes or high sugar diets, the candida can grow out of control.
Candida overgrowth can occur in different areas of the body, causing food sensitivities or other symptoms, including oral candidiasis (or thrush), vaginal candidiasis, diaper rash, and more. There can be overgrowth in the intestines, causing digestive problems and even get into the bloodstream.
What does a candida overgrowth do to the body?
Candida overgrowth can cause a breakdown of the immune system and a weakening of the immune response. While women seem to be affected more frequently, both men and children are also susceptible to the yeast syndrome. Because candidiasis is not a commonly recognized condition, the failure to identify and treat this syndrome may result in costly medical treatments and unnecessary suffering.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a candida overgrowth can be widespread and affect numerous systems.
- Intestinal bloating/gas
- intestinal cramps
- Intestinal mucus
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Memory lapses
- Inability to concentrate or brain fog
Traditionally, digestive system treatments focus on alleviating the symptoms. Some people manage to control mild symptoms through stress management and diet/lifestyle changes. For more severe symptoms, medication is often prescribed. These include antidepressants, anti-diarrheal, antibiotics, anticholinergic and antispasmodic medications. These all have their own set of side effects, including constipation or inability to urinate (making some IBS symptoms worse), blurred vision, reduced sexual desire, weight gain or loss, abdominal pain and more.
At the Magaziner Center, we believe in treating the digestive imbalances at the source. We approach healthcare from a holistic standpoint and look at the entire body and how it is functioning, rather than looking only at the gastrointestinal tract (which will typically appear normal in an IBS sufferer).
Through specialized blood and stool testing, we often find abnormal digestion or assimilation, imbalance in the flora or fatty acid metabolism and leaky guy syndrome or increased intestinal permeability that is triggering the problem. Once these imbalances are addressed, we see tremendous healing and improvement in our patients.
Using an extremely thorough series of tests, we also look for triggers such as food allergy or intolerance, insufficiencies in nutrients, cellular imbalance, heavy metal excess, imbalance in gastroesophageal bacteria and yeast, and more. We are then able to treat each cause using methods such as nutritional supplementation, sublingual desensitization, and more.
Each of these therapies aim to correct the imbalance or problem, rather than simply suppressing it, improving the overall health and wellbeing of our patients.
Why settle for a lifetime regimen of medication, some with side effects worse than the original condition? There are options. There is help- and you’ve just found it.
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