Natural Solutions For Digestive Disorders
Digestive disorders can have a widespread effect on the state of your health. In fact, more and more research is showing that a number of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and a decreased ability to deal with stress, can be related to your digestive health.
If you’re dealing with a digestive disorder it can be overwhelming and disheartening and may hold you back from fully enjoying your life.
Here at Mahaya Health, we can help.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. This means it causes inflammation in your digestive system, most commonly in your colon and small intestine.
There is currently no known cure for Crohn’s disease. However, there are natural solutions available which can help you manage your symptoms.
Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease? If you’re experiencing any of the following, it may be caused by Crohn’s disease:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stool
- Rectal bleeding
- Feeling fullness in your abdomen, despite not being full of food
Crohn’s disease symptoms can be quite severe in their flare-ups, but in some cases you may go months or years without experiencing them.
Causes Of Crohn’s Disease
What causes Crohn’s disease? It’s an autoimmune condition, which means it’s caused by your immune system mistaking part of your body as a pathogen and attacking it. The reason why this happens is currently unknown.
However, we do know about a few factors that put you at greater risk of developing Crohn’s disease. In particular:
Genetics – if you have a relative who had Crohn’s disease, you’re more likely to get it. Also, Ashkenazi Jews deal with Crohn’s disease at a higher rate than the average population
Bacterial Infections – if you’ve been infected with certain bacteria, including a type of E. coli, you’re at greater risk for developing Crohn’s disease
Smoking – smoking doesn’t generally increase your risk of Crohn’s disease, but if you do have Crohn’s it can make your symptoms more severe
Diet – those who eat diets with excess high fat or processed foods are at greater risk of developing Crohn’s
Environment – those of us who live in urban areas are at greater risk
Medications – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen don’t cause Crohn’s disease, however, they can make your symptoms worse
Complications From Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease has a wide variety of potential complications associated with it. These can include:
- Abscesses in your intestinal walls
- Anal fissures
- SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
- Mouth ulcers
- Kidney problems, including kidney stones
- Vision problems
- Liver problems, including hepatitis, gallstones, and fatty liver disease
- Skin tags
- Delayed puberty
One of the most significant complications from Crohn’s disease is malnutrition. Because Crohn’s affects your small intestine, it can affect your body’s ability to extract nutrients from the food you eat. This can lead to a wide variety of different issues, including anxiety, depression, thyroid issues, chronic fatigue, and more.
Natural Treatments For Crohn’s Disease
There are a number of different natural treatment methods which may help you manage your Crohn’s disease.
In particular, there are naturopathic solutions for Crohn’s disease which can help treat your condition. Though each case is different, the general process is as follows:
- Confirm that you have Crohn’s disease
- Assess the damage done by Crohn’s disease flare-ups
- As much as possible, address the damage and restore your ability to absorb nutrients
- Recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce the likelihood and severity of flare-ups
A registered massage therapist (RMT) may also help you find relief from your Crohn’s disease. While massage doesn’t address the root cause of Crohn’s disease, it can help reduce stress, which may help you manage your symptoms.
A practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can help as well. Acupuncture and moxibustion have both been shown to help control the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and reverse some tissue damage.
There is some evidence that osteopathic manual practitioners can help with Crohn’s disease as well.
If you’re suffering with Crohn’s disease, it may seem stressful and overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Here at Mahaya Health, we have a full team of practitioners who can help you manage your condition and improve your quality of life.
Like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease. Its effects are specifically limited to the colon and the large intestine.
There is currently no known cure for ulcerative colitis. However, there are natural solutions available which can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis? They vary from case to case, but the telltale symptom is bloody diarrhea.
Depending on the nature of your disease, you may also experience:
- Sudden bowel urgency
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Sensitivity to light
- Chronic fatigue
- Stomach cramps
- Mouth or skin sores
- Arthritis-like joint pain
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis may flare up and go away with time. In fact, they may disappear for years at a time before returning.
Some of the above symptoms are similar to that of Crohn’s disease. As a result, it’s sometimes difficult to tell which disorder you have without a qualified healthcare practitioner’s help.
Causes Of Ulcerative Colitis
What causes ulcerative colitis? It’s an autoimmune condition, which is a condition where your immune system mistakes your body’s own tissue as something that shouldn’t be there. In this case, your immune system mistakes the cells that line your colon, the friendly bacteria in your gut, and even food, as a pathogen, and sends white blood cells to attack it.
The reason why this happens is not yet understood, however, colitis does seem to run in families.
Food and stress aren’t the cause of ulcerative colitis, as some may claim. However, they can make your symptoms worse.
Natural Treatments For Ulcerative Colitis
A naturopathic doctor can help you address the triggers that set off your ulcerative colitis flare-ups, and provide a diet and lifestyle plan designed to help you minimize their occurrence. They can also help you repair some of the damage done to your digestive tract from your flare-ups.
A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner can help as well, by prescribing herbal supplements which can help you manage your flare-ups, as well as provide acupuncture treatment to help you deal with the stress of your illness.
Speaking of stress management, a registered massage therapist and an osteopathic manual practitioner (OMP) can help with that as well.
Depending on your symptoms, a physiotherapist can provide you treatments which may help relieve your ulcerative colitis symptoms. In particular, a physiotherapist can help if you’re dealing with pelvic pain, fecal incontinence, and chronic fatigue.
Ulcerative colitis can be a difficult condition to live with, but here at Mahaya, we have an entire team of healthcare practitioners who are ready to help you manage your condition.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is a condition that can cause serious discomfort and pain. While it’s generally not life-threatening, its painful flare-ups can interfere with your ability to live your life.
While there is no known cure for irritable bowel syndrome, there are naturopathic solutions which may help you control your symptoms.
What are the symptoms of IBS? Many of them are the same as other digestive disorders, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These include:
- Severe stomach cramps
- Explosive diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Chronic fatigue
- Distended belly
- Softer or harder stools
- Issues with sexual function
- Urinary incontinence
In some cases, IBS may cause either diarrhea or constipation, or it may alternate between the two.
When it comes to diagnosing IBS, it’s essentially a diagnosis of exclusion. That means your doctor will work to find the cause of your digestive symptoms. If they can’t find another cause, they may diagnose you with IBS. Some of the conditions your doctor may look for include:
- Food allergies
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Celiac disease
- Thyroid disorders
- Pancreatic enzyme deficiency
Causes Of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
What causes IBS? At this point, we don’t yet know. We do know some risk factors, however:
Genetics – if your direct relatives have IBS, it’s more likely you’ll develop it
Sex – women are about twice as likely to develop IBS when compared with men
Age – you’re more likely to be diagnosed with IBS if you’re in between your teenage years and your 40s
Certain Medications – if you’re taking a medication made with sorbitol, you may be at greater risk for developing IBS
Food – though dairy, gluten, fructose, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and fatty foods don’t cause IBS, they may trigger a flare-up of symptoms
Stress – in some cases, emotional issues, such as stress or past trauma can trigger the first flare-up of IBS symptoms. We don’t yet know whether IBS or stress comes first, but there seems to be a relation between the two
Natural Treatments For Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan. However, most people who suffer from IBS can find relief from their symptoms.
The most important factor in offering a treatment plan for IBS is to address what’s triggering your flare-ups in the first place. A naturopathic doctor can help you find out what your potentially triggering foods are, and provide you with a diet and lifestyle plan to help you avoid them while still getting the nutrients you need.
Once that’s taken care of, an osteopathic manual practitioner can help you repair some of the damage caused by your flare-ups. In particular, they can help you manage the abdominal adhesions which sometimes occur with IBS and which can restrict your GI tract’s functions.
A traditional Chinese medicine practitioner can also provide you with herbal remedies designed to help soothe your GI tract and reverse some of the damage.
Because IBS is such a stressful experience, massage therapy or acupuncture treatments may also be able to help.
And, if you opt for medical treatment, a naturopathic doctor can provide you with a complementary treatment plan that works with the prescription medications you’re taking.
Irritable bowel syndrome isn’t life-threatening, but it can significantly interfere with your day-to-day life. Those who suffer from this disease often miss days of work or school, or even have to make separate work-from-home arrangements to accommodate their flare-ups. It can be isolating and extremely stressful, but there are treatments available.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes a severe intolerance to gluten.
If you have celiac disease, the presence of gluten in your digestive tract will cause a violent autoimmune reaction that attacks your small intestine.
Symptoms Of Celiac Disease
What are the symptoms of celiac disease? In general, symptoms only ever occur when you eat something that has gluten in it. If you do, you may experience the following:
- Extreme abdominal pain
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Gas and bloating
- Particularly bad smelling feces
- Bone and joint pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Mouth sores
- Tingling in your hands and feet
- Loss of balance
- Unexplained weight loss
- Hyposplenism (underperforming spleen)
Causes of Celiac Disease
We don’t currently know what causes celiac disease. We do know, however, that it’s an autoimmune disorder. So your reaction is a result of your immune system attacking the villi, the small, hair-like protrusions on the inside of your intestines. When these are damaged, your ability to absorb nutrients from your food is also damaged, so celiac disease can be a major problem.
The risk of developing celiac disease seems to be greatest among those of European descent, as well as those with other disorders, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Addison’s disease, Down syndrome, and turner syndrome.
Natural Treatments For Celiac Disease
The only way to prevent celiac disease flare-ups is to avoid eating gluten entirely. This is sometimes easier said than done, since gluten can show up in unexpected places.
However, if you’ve experienced celiac disease flare-ups, it’s likely your digestive system has been damaged. This is where Mahaya’s practitioners can help.
We can work with you to provide a treatment plan designed to reverse the damage caused by your celiac disease symptoms, helping your body absorb nutrients and increasing your overall health.
Mahaya Health offers solutions for a wide range of other digestive disorders as well, including:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD, or heartburn)
Are you suffering with a digestive concern?
Using a variety of approaches from our interdisciplinary team of healthcare practitioners, you can get treatment designed to meet your specific needs.
Take your first step on the road to optimal digestive health.