Digestive Disorders and Dysfuntion
Guide to treating through Naturopathy for digestion ,Indigestion, Bloating, and Abdominal Pain
Total health truly starts from the inside out – our gut and optimal digestive function set the foundations for many aspects of our day-to- day wellbeing such as strong immune system function, mental health, and hormone balance. By healing the gut and supporting the microbiome that dwells there, naturopathic medicine can get to the root cause of many of your health concerns.
The gut is incredibly complex, and has been termed our “second brain” due to the integral role it plays in our overall health and well being. Medical research even links poor digestion with anxiety, depression, endometriosis, fibroids, and eczema – so if you suffer with these concerns, it’s time to take a look at how your digestive health might be working against you on your path to wellness.
If you’re dealing with bloating, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, or anything in between, Dr. Jennah has all of the tools and knowledge to help manage your symptoms. You’ll work closely with Dr. Jennah to explore dietary management strategies, lifestyle interventions to support the gut-brain connection, and implement key herbal or nutritional supplements to address both acute and chronic concerns. Dr. Jennah also offers Food Sensitivity Testing, which can help patients identify long-standing food intolerances that may have been impacting their digestion for years.
Dr. Jennah has experience and success in treating a wide array of digestive concerns, such as:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)
- Food sensitivities/intolerances
- And many more!
Book a free 15 minute consult with Dr. Jennah today, to discuss how you can work together to tackle your digestive concerns for good.
Food Sensitivities and Digestion
Food sensitivities may play a significant role in your digestive function, causing everything from bloating, constipation or loose stools, to low energy levels. Dr. Jennah will likely begin by ruling out more concerning causes to your digestive upset, such as celiac disease (gluten allergy), lactose intolerance, or other autoimmune conditions like inflammatory bowel disease. Should all of these digestive diagnoses have been ruled out, you and Dr. Jennah will often proceed to exploring IgG food sensitivities or food intolerances.
Food sensitivities can be assessed and treated by using either a therapeutic diet known as the Elimination/Hypoallergenic Diet or a Food Sensitivity Test (FST). To find out which option would best suited for your digestive concerns, you can book a free 15 minute consult with Dr. Jennah and have all of your digestive questions answered. Dietary changes may play a key role in addressing your digestive concerns, and Dr. Jennah will use the results of your food sensitivity testing to create a treatment plan that is just as unique and individual as you are.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and Bloating
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) may also be the underlying cause of your digestive issues. SIBO is caused by an overgrowth of gut bacteria and poor gastric motility, leading to chronic bloating and associated abdominal pain. If you’ve found that your digestive complaints tend to get paradoxically worse with the use of probiotics, and better when you’ve just taken a course of antibiotics, then Dr. Jennah may consider more testing to rule out the presence of SIBO.
SIBO can be tested for using a functional lab test called the lactulose breath test. You can get this type of test from Dr. Jennah, and it may better help to determine whether SIBO is the underlying cause of your concerns. Should SIBO be the most likely cause of your digestive concerns, like bloating, indigestion, and abdominal pain, Then Dr. Jennah will likely recommend a combination of herbal support to kill off the overgrowth of bacteria, dietary changes (such as the Low FODMAP diet), and nutritional supplementation to help with gut motility.
This treatment approach is also widely know as a “weed, seed, and feed” protocol in which you’re weeding out the bad gut bacteria, reseeding with gut bacteria, and continuing to support this healthy microbiome with the ideal diet, and gut lining support. By following this approach, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain caused by SIBO can be addressed and treated.
Stress and Digestion – The Gut-Brain Connection
Anxiety and digestion are more closely related than you might think. If you find that your digestion is completely thrown off when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, then you’re certainly on to something. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is closely linked with increased levels of stress and anxiety, and can cause changes to bowel movements (it can cause both diarrhea and/or constipation) and abdominal pain.
Stress management and addressing the underlying cause of your anxiety plays a key role in the management of IBS. Dr. Jennah may suggest a variety of mind-body therapies to address the root cause of your digestive concerns, such as tools taken from cognitive behavioural therapy and regular acupuncture treatments. For acute and symptomatic management of your IBS, she may also employ some dietary suggestions (such as identifying and avoiding food sensitivities) alongside herbal and nutritional supplementation that helps your body better manage anxiety and stress.
Estrogen Dominance and Digestion
For those of you who suffer from women’s health concerns like endometriosis, fibroids, hormonal acne, or period pain, you may want to take a closer look at the state of your digestion. Our menstrual cycles and reproductive health are in direct correlation to the state of our female sex hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone. When we have an imbalance of these hormones, more specifically, high/normal estrogen levels in relation to deficient progesterone levels, we may experience a worsening of symptoms of fibroids, endometriosis, or period pain.
Our body is supposed to bind up and metabolize excess estrogen out of the body via our digestive processes. This is difficult for us to do when we’re not having regular bowel movements, which can lead to or worsen hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance. So if you find yourself constipated on a regular basis (i.e. not having at least one well formed, easy to pass bowel movement per day – but ideally 2-3/day), then you may want to consider addressing your digestion to better help your hormones as well. To find out more about Dr. Jennah’s background in women’s health, you can read further here. Everything is connected, and constipation and poor digestion may be a good indicator that hormone balance is not where it should be.
Herbal Bitters, Low Stomach Acid, and Digestion
Sometimes, all we need is a little acute support for our digestive woes. When it comes to bloating, poor digestion, reflux, heartburn, and digestive upset post meal, low stomach acid production may be to blame. When our stomach acid is produced in the right amounts and at the right level of acidity, it signals our lower espohageal sphincter (the elastic band- like junction that connect our stomach to our esophagus) to tighten and close.
When our stomach acid levels are too low or not acidic enough, the signal is not heard by the lower esophageal sphincter, and it remains open. This allows for stomach acid and gastric contents to easily reflux into the esophagus, causing heartburn and symptoms of reflux. By correcting stomach acid levels, we can address these specific concerns quite easily. Dr. Jennah may suggest some key dietary and lifestyle interventions alongside the use of a herbal bitter. Bitters help to stimulate gastric acid secretion before meals, allowing you to prevent digestive upset, reflux, and heartburn before it even happens.
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How to Treat Poor Digestion Naturally
You can start your journey to managing your bloating and indigestion by working with Dr. Jennah. She offers free 15 minute meet and greet appointments to all new patients. This appointment option is a great way for you to discuss your health goals and concerns with Dr. Jennah, and decide if you would be a good fit in working together.
For those who are ready to dive in to their first appointment, Dr. Jennah offers 60 minute Initial Intake Appointments.
If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Jennah’s downtown Toronto naturopathic practice, then you can read further here.
Dr. Jennah has a special interested in women’s health concerns,and enjoys treating everything from low energy and fatigue, to painful periods and pre-menstrual syndrome. She believes that your healthcare should be as unique as you are.