Tips to Get to the Root Cause of Your Gut IssuesJun 22, 2023
I had gut issues from the time I was young, but it wasn't until my early 20s that I started experiencing extreme bloating and stabbing stomach pain daily.
I literally couldn’t button my jeans by the end of most days and I became desperate to get to the root cause! I saw multiple doctors who told me I had "IBS" (a blanket term for pretty much any gut symptom and not a real diagnosis). I also saw a gastroenterologist, got a colonoscopy, and was told that it's perfectly "normal" to be constipated and bloated (adding that he has a patient who doesn't have bowel movements for 10 days — I would never tell a client now that’s normal you’ll recirculate so many toxins!!). He wanted to give me a prescription (and that was a big no because I had just entered my era of holistic healing).
None of the Western doctors ever suggested any other testing and I eventually realized that I needed to find a healthcare practitioner that would truly listen and offer helpful action steps that came from a holistic place.
After years of trial and error, I was FINALLY able to get to the root of my issues and relieve my symptoms naturally! So if you’re struggling with GI issues and desperate for answers, here are my top tips:
1. Find an "Integrative" or "Functional" medicine practitioner — once I finally found someone who offered a more functional approach, I got a diagnosis and a treatment plan that WORKED. These types of doctors and coaches help you to get to the ROOT of your issues and explore natural solutions.
2. Get the right testing - After I began working with a naturopath, we did a SIBO “breath” test, a comprehensive stool test (measuring bacteria, yeast, parasites, and inflammatory markers), and a comprehensive blood panel (measuring markers for celiac antibodies, IGa, IGg, and H pylori). She also reviewed optimal ranges for every test, which means looking past the normal range to address symptoms.
It turned out that I had SIBO ("Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth"), which is due to an abnormal increase in yeast in the colon. FINALLY, I had a clear diagnosis and a multi-pronged treatment plan including stress management, an 8-week elimination diet, 4-week alcohol elimination, getting off birth control, and a course of antifungals.
If your doctor won’t offer tests like this, an integrative doctor will! And although it will probably be out of pocket, it will shed SO much light on what’s going on...and I can say that as much as I tried to avoid out-of-pocket costs, it ended up being the best investment I ever made for myself...and I wish I'd done it YEARS earlier.
Traditional doctors might suggest invasive procedures such as a colonoscopy, endoscopy, biopsy, or ultrasound to identify potential markers for disease or health conditions, which may be helpful, depending on your symptoms and health history. I’ve done all of these procedures and I did feel better "ruling things out," but nothing ever came back ‘abnormal’ for me, which is why the functional lab work was the most game-changing for me.
3. Mindful eating - Slow down, fully focus on the food in front of you, separate yourself from distractions (phone, emails, etc), put your fork down between bites, breathe deeply, and journal how you feel after eating!
4. Try an elimination diet - try removing the most inflammatory foods: gluten, corn, soy, dairy, and sugar from your diet for 8 weeks.
If you want to get even deeper, doing the proper elimination diet for your condition is key. Aka removing sugar and processed carbs if you have candid or removing FODMAPs if you have SIBO. These may be a bit more restrictive but I’ve found the best results when doing the right diet for each condition gives the best results.
5. Consider probiotics - If you have moderate to severe gut issues, you should consult with your doctor for the best probiotic suggestion and the timing of when you’re taking it within the protocol.
6. Digestive enzymes - Enzymes help the body break down carbs, proteins, and fats into smaller molecules that we can use for energy. They help the digestive system to absorb nutrients better, which also makes them helpful for people with nutrient deficiencies (something that commonly happens with adrenal and thyroid issues).
If you’re constantly bloated, and gassy, or notice pieces of food in your stool, this could be a sign of a slow digestive system and you may be lacking enzymes your body needs to break down certain macros. Taking a high-quality digestive enzyme before meals can help improve these uncomfortable symptoms
7. Test your hormones - Bloating and constipation are some of the most common symptoms my clients come to me with, which are telltale signs of estrogen dominance.
If you’re looking to finally heal your digestive symptoms from the root cause, look no further than wbk! We offer all the comprehensive testing and protocols you need to heal from the inside out.
Tap the link here to get in touch with us and learn more!