Conventional Approaches to Treating Gut Issues
Have you already seen your primary care doctor about your chronic gut issues, only to be given a prescription to deal with the symptoms and told to come back in 4 weeks if things aren’t better?
Perhaps you are dealing with regular bloating, acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), diarrhea, stomach cramps or even fatigue and brain fog as well?
Most likely your doctor recommended antacids (like tums, pepto-bismol) or proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) to deal with “overactive” stomach acid or some other medication to deal with the symptoms.
While some medicines may slightly ease symptoms in the short term, they can seriously harm you in the long-term because you’ll never explore why you have the bloating, diarrhea or heartburn in the first place!
This is emblematic of a conventionally-trained practitioner’s approach – going downstream from an observed symptom towards a diagnosis, that can then be addressed with a symptomatic prescription medicine. In an insurance-based practice, that’s really the only thing that can be accomplished in a typical 7-minute visit.
The problem with this is that there are so many reasons why you could experience chronic digestive distress, and unless you understand the true root cause of what’s ultimately leading to the observed digestive symptoms, you don’t know how to fix it for good!
That’s why the conventional approach to chronic digestive disorders is really frustrating for both patients AND doctors:
Patients never get to truly resolve their digestive issues… instead just managing their symptoms, while primary care doctors feel ill-equipped to identify what’s really causing the observed gut issues, especially in light of the time pressures imposed on them by third party insurance companies.
Getting To The Root Cause Of Symptoms
While the symptoms of hundreds of gut diseases are literally the same (bloating, gassiness, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain), they may be caused by very different mechanisms that require a specialized approach.
That’s why it’s worrisome to mask the warning symptoms with over-the-counter remedies like antacids, laxatives or anti-diarrheals – without investigating the true root causes.
In the 1990’s, we made incredible advances in understanding that our health is deeply linked to our microbiome: The microbiome is a collection of microbes including bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses that live on and inside the human body.
The bacteria in our gut microbiome help digest our food, protect our immune system, fight harmful bacteria or viruses, and produce important nutrients like B12, thiamine (B1) and riboflavin.
They also produce important neurotransmitters that allow for proper brain function. This is why people with poor gut health oftentimes report brain fog!
Unfortunately, these new advances in science take around 17 years to find their way into conventional doctors’ practices… so that’s why you may be better served by a functional and integrative medicine provider like our team at Sarah Yoakam, MD.
The Functional Medicine Approach to Treating Gut Issues
The functional and integrative medicine approach to healing the gut is relying on advanced lab testing, followed by creating a custom-tailored, personalized protocol to restore your body’s innate healing potential so we can bring your body back into balance.
Since the gut impacts our health on so many levels, it’s the first place we focus on when we explore a patient’s case – determining whether they have leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), or its cousin small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO).
The lab tests help us arrive at a precise diagnosis, so we understand how to address the underlying dysfunction for good – whether it’s unresolved stealth infections, environmental toxins, food allergies or other endocrine or system-wide issues.
Sadly, conventional doctors don’t have time to untangle these complex, interdependent issues because there’s simply not enough time in a standard 7-minute visit, nor were some of these topics covered in our standard medical school training.
Oftentimes, I’ve heard from patients things like “I have a “sensitive stomach” which seems to have become an accepted term for “just grin and bear it”.
But what it could actually mean is a serious gut imbalance that might have far-reaching consequences for your overall wellness.
Don’t just chalk it up to having a “sensitive” stomach or “getting older”… seek out care from a functional and integrative medicine-trained provider to avoid compromising your long-term health.
At Sarah Yoakam, MD, our expert team is trained to investigate the symptoms and causes of your chronic digestive disorder and assemble an effective treatment plan that’s supported by the appropriate lab tests.
If you have been experiencing chronic symptoms that may be connected with digestive problems and are looking for answers, schedule an appointment with Sarah Yoakam, MD today!