Functional digestive disorders
Many women suffer from occasional stomach upset when they've eaten too much or picked up a stomach bug.
However if you have regular problems with your digestion (pain, bloating, reflux, constipation), it's likely that you're not getting the full benefit from your food, which over time, can lead to disease.
There are a wide range of digestive issues that can cause someone discomfort, and some people suffer from several different symptoms at once. The women I work with have conditions such as IBS, SIBO, reflux, constipation, diarrhoea, histamine intolerance and food intolerances.
Please read on to learn more about this conditions and how I work to make you feel confident in your food choices.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
If you have been diagnosed with IBS it means that your doctor has ruled out any serious digestive disease. Unfortunately this still leaves many women with unsolved digestive problems and daily symptoms that are uncomfortable or embarrassing.
For some women, choosing what to eat each day becomes confusing because everything seems to upset their stomach.
Some of the women I work with have experienced IBS symptoms for up to 25 years. As someone who loves food I'm always very sad to hear this! Other women tell me that they don't get as many dinner invitations as they used to because of their restricted eating patterns.
Going out for dinner with friends should be fun. You shouldn't feel scared that you might eat something that will cause bloating, burping, gas, diarrhoea or pain.
Digestive upset doesn't have to control your life any more. There are many ways a naturopath can help you to heal your digestive system holistically and take back control of your eating and digestion.
Symptom relief is important but an emphasis will be placed on discovering the underlying cause of the problem, so that symptoms can be eliminated once and for all and the digestive system can finally get a chance to heal.
Women who have suffered with IBS for a long time have often tried a FODMAPs diet, dairy free and gluten free with some relief, but they have never got to the source of the problem.
Restricted eating over the long term can cause nutritional deficiencies and more intolerances. It's a good idea to get advice about the foods that you can and can't eat so this doesn't happen to you.
If you have been diagnosed with IBS it may take us a few months to get to the root of your individual digestive symptoms and start to turn them around.
SIBO small intestinal bowel overgrowth
Functional testing - Accredited practitioner
Approximately 60% of IBS sufferers have a condition called SIBO.
SIBO occurs when the small intestine has an overgrowth of bacteria. The bacteria ferment starches and fibres from food into gases and cause symptoms.
These gases damage the small intestine and prevent absorption of nutrients. Patients can suffer digestive problems including diarrhoea, bloating, gas and constipation for many years before being diagnosed.
If I suspect that you have SIBO, I will recommend some functional testing:
GI map microbiome mapping
SIBO breath test
Eradicating SIBO involves adhering to a fairly strict diet for 8 to 12 weeks while taking an individually formulated herbal anti-microbial mix.
About 20% of Australians report that they have reactions to certain foods. Many of these reactions are due to an intolerance, rather than an actual allergic reaction.
Food intolerances can cause symptoms 1 or 2 days after eating, so it is often hard to pinpoint exactly which food(s) has caused the problem.
Food intolerances can cause widespread inflammation and be responsible for causing, or worsening, many other conditions such as diarrhoea, constipation, eczema, sinus, migraine and even PMS.
I can show you how to discover which foods cause your symptoms. Working with a combination of dietary changes and herbal medicine, we can gain relief from bloating, pain, gas, diarrhoea and/or constipation.
Supporting the health of your digestive system and also your immune system with essential nutrients and herbal medicine can make a difference to your digestive comfort quite quickly.
I am passionate about working with your gut microbiome using food, prebiotics and herbal medicine. I might recommend a stool test to map the diversity of the bacteria in your digestive system. A lack of diversity can be the key to inflammation and food intolerances in some women.
Food intolerances could also be the result of poor digestive capacity and we might work together to build up the health of the cells in your stomach and small intestine.
Stress can play a role in poor digestive function and you might be surprised at how many women respond well to a herbal formula designed to calm the nervous system and provide relief from stress.
Common food intolerances are cow's dairy and foods containing gluten. I also find that many people I work with are histamine intolerant, or have reactions to foods containing salicylates, oxalates, mould, sulphur or nickel.
The gut microbiome
Our large intestine contains trillions of bacteria. These bacteria have evolved with us and assist our wellbeing as long as we look after them. The gut bacteria thrive alongside various yeasts and viruses, fermenting and digesting the fibres in our diet that we can't digest.
Research into gut microbiome is growing and it's now believed that a diversity of gut bacteria are as essential for our health as one of our organs, such as our liver or kidneys.
Our gut microbiome can become out of balance due to limited diets, processed foods, antibiotics, other medications, alcohol, pesticides and herbicides. The term we use for unbalanced gut microbiome is 'dysbiosis'.
Dybiosis can also play a role when someone has problems losing weight, diabetes type II, or gut problems such as bloating and diarrhoea, and even changes in mood.
We are fortunate to be able to do a simple stool test to map the diversity of bacteria and other microbes found within the digestive system.
I can use this information to inform you of a range of foods that will benefit your diversity and your ongoing health.
Reflux, or heartburn affects around 25% of the population, where stomach contents regurgitate into the oesophagus to cause burning and discomfort. Reflux can cause further medical problems, so it is important to find the underlying cause and eliminate the reflux.
Prescription medication for reflux doesn't solve the underlying problem and many women find that they take them for years and are unable to stop taking them without the reflux returning.
The treatment of reflux must be holistic and address the underlying cause.
When I treat people for reflux we pay attention to the foods that they are eating, coffee, medications, the manner in which food is eaten (quickly, or under stressful conditions, or in large quantities), if the person is overweight and the health of the digestive system.
Herbal medicines, diet changes and mindful eating can all play a part in improving reflux.
Some women with reflux have coexisting Helicobacter pylori. This is an opportunistic bacteria that thrives in the same low stomach acid conditions that are also associated with reflux.
Helicobacter pylori often causes nausea and burning pain in the stomach. Herbal medicine and nutritional changes can also help here, especially if you are trying to avoid antibiotics.
My digestion is back to 100%!
So happy with the results of the health plan!
Jamie M, Gladesville
If you're unsure about working with a naturopath, please select the 30 minute free discovery session when you book online.