The Burn and the Bloat! Part 1.
Putting out the burn and deflating the bloat! In this part one of a series of blog posts I am going to outline some of my personal stomach and gastrointestinal tract (GI) issues. The course of treatment and the results they are having in my life from day to day, week to week, month to month. This series of blog posts is to demonstrate a more functional method of treating some conditions we live with. Working to resolve and heal a health condition with medical professionals that are skilled in the area of functional medicine and also know when is the right time to turn to standard western medicine. Functional medicine is growing in popularity in 2015.
- Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, Functional Medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, Functional Medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual. – See more at: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/What_is_Functional_Medicine/AboutFM/#sthash.1Jo34lfK.dpuf
My problems with acid reflux and stomach pain began at a very young age(about 14-15). It began when I started taking an aspirin in the morning to help manage chronic migraine headaches. As a teenager I would suffer from migraine headaches from a month to month basis. The headaches would keep me out of school, home from fun events, and effect my athletic events in high school. The pain would be so bad that I was convicted that some damage had been done. As management I was sent to see a neurologist for testing. The treatment options were daily shots or taking a small daily dose of aspirin. As a teenager there was no way I was going to stick a needle in my thigh! So, I took the aspirin; and like every teenager I rarely ate a nice healthy breakfast. Yes, I remember my mother telling me to eat…but I was too busy rushing out the door in the morning to catch up with friends to stop a moment and eat some food with this small little pill.
It took a little time, but slowly and surely I started to develop some stomach pain. Along with the pain came some blood in areas I was not quite sure about. Long story short I was a 15 year old with a bleeding ulcer in my stomach as diagnosed with an endoscope. I was placed on a dose of Zantac(this was the early 90’s). My stomach slowly healed and from that point on I was on stomach medications to control my chronic pain and discomfort.
Fast forward 21 years to this Fall of 2014. I made the decision to seek out a medical group and a healthcare provider to help guide me through the process of getting off stomach medications.
I made this decision based on a couple of issues happening with me. First, I was always feeling bloated in my mid to lower stomach. This seem to have no rhyme or reason, and this feeling did not match my level of activity. It seemed no mater what, this bloat feeling was always present.
I had grown so a custom to this feeling I seemed to always be walking around holding in my stomach. This needed to change. Second, I did not seem to be having good recovery from training. Following a training session some areas of my body would feel very sore and almost painful, while other areas of my body felt as though I did not even train. It did not make sense to me as a person who has exercised since the age of 12 and also as a professional with a BS and MS. These two areas in my personal life lead me to seek out a new healthcare provider.
The search did not take long and I made a phone call to gather more information. I had a great discussion with a representative of the healthcare group and was paired with a provider to match my needs.
The First Visit:
I was not too sure what to expect in the first visit. They did the standard procedure of gathering critical health information and then my new healthcare provider came in to visit and examine me. We talked briefly in the examination room then a standard physical was done. Once this was finished we went to the office of the healthcare provider. We sat and talked for over an hour. She took notes and I filled her in on my past. She was impressed with my level of detail in my nutrition and my memory from the past. I explained to her that up to this point I had modified my diet based on how it affected my migraines and my energy level. I listed the foods I take in on a daily basis and also listed out the natural supplements I was talking in daily. At the conclusion of the appointment she decided I needed some standard blood work done but I should also have some more detailed blood work added in. This blood work was something I had to pay out of pocket. She explained that this was going to give us some important information in my nutritional needs and sensitivities. This test was an IgG blood test for food sensitivities. It looked at 150 different foods and the effects on IgG.
- Immunoglobulin G (IgG), the most abundant type of antibody, is found in all body fluids and protects against bacterial and viral infections.
She also had some tests done on my body waste products looking for fungal and bacterial overgrowth. I will tell you that this type of testing is still in the “questionable” area of medicine. You see, if you go to many formally trained western physicians they will dismiss the test and say it does not give us much information. I disagree. I feel this can give important information as to what is happening in the blood when we ingest certain foods.
For 13 years or more I have been involved in the healthcare community, and I feel if we are not constantly progressing and investigating new areas to give us new information then we are not progressing at all. When I first started in the rehabilitation area of healthcare, it was cutting edge to have certain ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) procedures done and cutting edge to have certain rehabilitation protocols used for a more timely return to sport and life. We only progressed by pushing the boundaries and investigating new areas of the human body. It has to make sense though….I am not game for using methods that do not make sense both medically and logically. This is where I stand on IgG testing. It give us information; how you use that information is up to us. I will be using it to heal my stomach and GI!
As mentioned before I also had some testing done for fungal and bacterial overgrowth in my stomach and GI. This can be valuable as well because I have been taking prescription medication for years that can have an effect on the healthy fungal and bacterial relationship happening in my stomach and GI. More and more information is surfacing now on the importance of a healthy digestive tract. If this balance is off in our digestive tract then we are not absorbing important nutrients to sustain a healthy life. Like it our not….we are filled with many bacteria in our body….both good and bad. We have to help support the good to help maintain a healthy and sustainable immune system.
I hope you enjoy this part one of a multiple series. I have the next post in the works now! Again, my blog is looking to provide insight, hope, and inspiration to other to seek out help to become the best person you can be. Both physically and mentally!
Off to a great start in 2015…