Chronic Gastrointestinal Diseases and Gut Health

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Chronic gastrointestinal diseases affect the digestive system and can cause long-term health problems. These include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, gastroesophageal reflux, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, including diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and abdominal pain.

Types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. It includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.

Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition that affects the large intestine. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel movements. Treatment can include dietary changes, medication, and stress management techniques.

Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease affecting any part of the digestive tract. It causes inflammation and irritation, leading to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but it is believed to be related to genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine. It is characterized by inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the colon and rectum, which can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the colon’s lining.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine when consuming gluten. Symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fatigue. When individuals with celiac disease consume gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, their immune system attacks the small intestine. This can lead to damage to the intestinal lining, which can cause malabsorption of nutrients and other health complications. The first line of treatment for celiac is to switch to a gluten-free diet by avoiding all foods and products that contain gluten, including bread, pasta, beer, and certain processed foods.

Small Intestinal Overgrowth (SIBO)

SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a condition with excessive bacteria in the small intestine. This can lead to various symptoms, such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. SIBO is often caused by an underlying condition such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome.

The excess bacteria in the small intestine can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, leading to malnutrition and weight loss. SIBO is diagnosed through a breath test, which measures the amount of hydrogen and methane gas produced by the bacteria in the small intestine.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a chronic digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is caused when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. The LES is a muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach and acts as a valve to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus. In people with GERD, the LES is weak or relaxes too often, allowing stomach acid to irritate the lining of the esophagus.

Symptoms of GERD include heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and a chronic cough. It can also lead to complications such as esophagitis, strictures, and Barrett’s esophagus, increasing the risk of esophageal cancer.

Integrative Treatment for Chronic Gastrointestinal Diseases

Integrative medicine uses a holistic approach to treating chronic gastrointestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, GERD, SIBO, and celiac disease.

A primary aspect of treatment is addressing the leaky gut. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition that affects the lining of the intestines and often accompanies any one of the conditions mentioned here. Symptoms of leaky gut syndrome overlap with other gastrointestinal diseases and include bloating, gas, cramps, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and food sensitivities.

The intestinal lining comprises small gaps that allow nutrients to enter the bloodstream. However, when these gaps become too large, undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria can leak through the intestinal lining and into the bloodstream. This can cause inflammation throughout the body and lead to various health problems.

One of the main principles of integrative medicine is to treat the whole person, not just the disease. This means that the treatment plan for chronic gastrointestinal disorders involves a combination of therapies that address the patient’s health’s physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. These therapies may include dietary changes, stress reduction techniques, acupuncture, and herbal supplements.

The physicians at Restoration Healthcare use integrative medicine as an effective treatment plan for healing the gut, reducing symptoms, and improving the quality of life for patients with chronic gastrointestinal diseases. By taking a comprehensive approach to treatment, integrative medicine can help patients manage their healing symptoms and achieve better overall health and well-being.

Contact our clinic if you live in the Orange County area or Los Angeles and believe you have a chronic gastrointestinal disease. Our experienced physicians will use integrative therapies to diagnose and address the cause of your condition. Contact the clinic today to request a patient packet.


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What Type of Treatment Can I Expect at Your Clinic for Chronic Gastrointestinal Diseases?

Our physicians will address a variety of treatment options to help heal the gut and restore health. They may include medications, dietary changes, IV therapy, stress reduction techniques, acupuncture, nutritional supplements, and herbal products.

Studies support the use of integrative medicine to diagnose gastrointestinal diseases, treat symptoms, limit flare-ups, and heal the gut. They aim to reduce symptoms and improve their patient’s quality of life by taking a comprehensive integrative approach to treatment.

Is Leaky Gut a Real Condition?

While the exact cause of leaky gut syndrome is not fully understood, it is an actual condition. It is linked to various factors, including contributing gastrointestinal diseases, poor diet, stress, and certain medications. The treatment for leaky gut syndrome typically involves dietary changes, such as eliminating foods that can irritate the gut and taking supplements to support gut health, as well as treatments to heal the open junctions in the intestines.

Many people with leaky gut syndrome symptoms experience a great deal of frustration trying to find a diagnosis. The condition, combined with delays in treatment, can significantly impact overall physical and mental health. A doctor with the right experience can help manage the disease and even reverse its effects.

How is celiac disease different from gluten sensitivity?

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are two different conditions that are often confused with each other. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten sensitivity, on the other hand, is a less severe condition where the body has difficulty digesting gluten.

The symptoms of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can be similar, including bloating, diarrhea, and fatigue. However, celiac disease can also cause damage to the small intestine, leading to malabsorption of nutrients and long-term health problems. Gluten sensitivity, while uncomfortable, does not cause the same level of damage and an autoimmune response.

Treatment for both conditions involves following a gluten-free diet, but those with celiac disease must always avoid gluten to prevent further damage to their intestines. Understanding the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is essential to properly managing symptoms and preventing long-term health complications.

Hear About a New Level of Care and Compassion from Arabella

After being passed around from doctor-to-doctor and multiple emergency room visits, no one knew what was causing Arabella’s nerve, joint and muscle pain, extreme fatigue and inability to walk. Was it multiple sclerosis? Was it Lyme Disease? What it something else? A friend’s recommendation led her to Restoration Healthcare, who confirmed it was Lyme Disease.

She describes the experience as being engaging with high standards of care from people who actually care about their patients. The clinic explored every aspect of Arabella’s health including nutritional status, hormone balance, immunity and even the emotional toll she and her family experienced prior to coming to Restoration Healthcare. “It’s a different level of compassion,” she says.

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