couple-eating-1-300x180Houston, where I live, is a hot spot for food. We have such a variety available-from Tex Mex to Barbecue, Cuban to New American, Vietnamese to Soul Food. For many years we even boasted more restaurants per square mile than New York City! Having such a vast selection of food to eat can be wonderful, but for many people, indulging can mean major discomfort and stomach issues.

Many of us suffer from digestive problems on a regular basis. For many symptoms, traditional medicine may suggest a diagnosis of Acid Reflux Disease or perhaps Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The typical route would be to prescribe medications to address the symptoms, but I believe it’s important to look at the root cause of the problems to determine how best to treat them. Doesn’t it make sense to find out what’s causing those symptoms in the first place?

Let’s examine these 2 frequent diagnoses:

Acid Reflux: It’s characterized by frequent heartburn and regurgitation and is sometimes called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. A person diagnosed with GERD exhibits constant burning in the esophagus due to the stomach contents flowing back from the stomach.

The usual prescription? A modified diet and medications like Pepcid or Prilosec, antacids and anti-gas medication.

How long does one need to take these medication? Most likely, forever. By not determining what’s the source of the irritation, not looking at why the stomach acid keep going back into the esophagus, it will continue for the rest of the person’s life.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS: It’s also known as spastic colon. Symptoms can include all different types of digestive problems, from chronic abdominal pain, to diarrhea (or conversely, constipation), bloating and excess gas. Many people also suffer from extreme fatigue and their overall quality of life is greatly hindered.

The usual prescription? There is commonly a long list of options, typically determined by what issues are most prevalent. For instance, if frequent diarrhea is the main concern, the patient would be prescribed something to specifically help with that symptom. Some people are even prescribed anti-depressants to deal with both the physical pain and the emotional toll these symptoms take on them. Whatever combination of prescriptions needed would need to be used ongoing, because there’s no reason that the patients symptoms should stop. That is, unless you find out what’s really causing them.

So many patients come to me with digestive issues that affect all aspects of their life. If you have been diagnosed with either of these issues, or if you simply have digestive trouble in general, I would encourage you to have 2 things checked:

1. Check Your Yeast Levels. If you have frequent digestive issues, it may mean that you have yeast overgrowth in your gut, also known as Candidiasis. This can be caused by taking antibiotics and eating starchy foods, among other things.

2. Food Sensitivity Testing. You may say “But I’m not allergic to any foods.” That may be true-you don’t have a full blown allergy with an immediate reaction, like say a peanut allergy that can cause anaphylactic shock. But you could possibly have a sensitivity to certain foods-these can happen up to 72 hours after ingesting the culprit, so there’s no way of knowing what exactly it is. And your body’s response may include digestive trouble as well as inflammation in your body that you may not be able to detect, but can open the door to many other illnesses and disease-even cancer.

Sensitivity to Gluten and Milk Products are two things that I see very commonly, but I test for a broad range of items and most patients are surprised at their results. It’s often the things they eat most frequently that they’re sensitive to-overexposure can often cause a sensitivity or allergy.

If you suffer from stomach irritations, it’s worth the time and effort to seek out a solution rather than a ‘quick fix’ to mask the symptoms. If you need help in this area of your health and wellness, please don’t hesitate to contact me. And I love to answer questions here in my blog, so if you have some, please post in the comments below.

Wishing You Wellness and Vitality,

-Dr. Shel

Dr. Shel Wellness and Medical Spa is located just outside of Houston in Sugar Land, TX.  For more information, please call 281-313-7435

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