Updated: Mar 30
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Can a Naturopath Help With Stomach Issues?
Absolutely! As naturopathic doctors, we have a thorough understanding of not just how the digestive system itself functions, but how it connects to virtually every other system in the body. Because of this, improving and supporting gut health is an important part of the approach we take with almost every patient at PCNM.
Why You Should See a Naturopathic Doctor for Your Gut Health
Functional digestive disorders impact the lives of greater than 40% of the world’s population and the treatment options offered by most physicians, while at times can be effective at masking the symptoms, do nothing to change the underlying factors that impact how the digestive system functions.
At PCNM, we work with patients to identify how and why their specific digestive symptoms have come to be and we offer solutions for both immediate relief and long-term improvements in gut health.
How a Naturopath Assesses and Diagnoses Stomach Problems
By taking the time to get a thorough history, we gain an understanding of not just what you’re eating but the conditions surrounding your digestion as well as tying your symptoms to the conditions we commonly see.
A functional physical exam can help us identify the specific digestive organs that may need support
Traditional lab work and specialty testing, often via the stool itself, can give great insights into the status of important digestive organs such as the liver and pancreas along with potential imbalance of the microbiome which can have a profound impact on digestive function
We can also work with you to order advanced imaging such as ultrasound, endoscopy, or colonoscopy
3 Holistic GI Remedies That Naturopathic Doctors Use
#1: Dietary Changes
If the digestive system is a concern, the first thing we have to look at is the diet, as what we put into our bodies can make a profound difference in how well our body not only digests, but also heals, our immune system functions, hormone metabolism, and detoxification. All these essential systems have a large role in the digestive tract.
Certain foods are good for some, but not for others, and there are a variety of tests and evaluations on the market to help identify which foods are causing your issues. If you're curious about food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies, check out our article explaining the differences.
To identify which specific foods are causing or contributing to the problem, we will do a Food intolerance Evaluation. These foods are a mechanical breakdown issue of the food. The immune system isn't involved here, instead the body lacks the enzymes needed to digest that food and similar foods.
These foods impair normal digestive processes by essentially fermenting and rotting in the digestive tract. Inflammatory products are created which get absorbed into the general circulation and can then create more systemic symptoms such as migraines, skin rashes, joint pains, and fatigue in addition to the digestive symptoms as well.
Here's a quick video explaining:
#2: Herbal Medicine
We've seen patients with chronic constipation or diarrhea start having regular bowel movements within a week of removing their food intolerances. Patients previously diagnosed with SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) or intestinal candida have seen great improvement in their symptoms as well, often without the use of anti-fungal or antibiotic medications.
Irritable bowel and even autoimmune conditions of the digestive tract such as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis all improve when the diet is corrected for that individual.
Sometimes, a little additional digestive support through some probiotics or herbals (such as gentian and skullcap) to stimulate good stomach function, but the biggest step is simply removing the obstacles to good digestion — the food intolerances.
Constitutional hydrotherapy treatments can play a key role in supporting the function of the stomach, pancreas, and liver as well as helping to regulate motility throughout the small and large intestines.