Digestive Health

Facts:

  • More than 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive disorders every year.
  • Your gut contains more bacterial cells than there are stars in the sky.
  • You have 10x more bacterial cells than your own human cells.
  • You have 100x more bacterial genetic material than your own DNA.
  • 80 percent of our immune system resides in the GUT.
  • 95 percent of your body’s serotonin supplies are found in the gut.
  • 30 to 40 percent of thyroid hormone is made active in the gut.
  • Between 34% and 41% of GERD patients recall experiencing GERD-like symptoms for more than 10 years before diagnosis.
  • In Western countries, the prevalence range for GERD is 10% to 20% of the population. This accounts for approximately 3.4 million to 6.8 million Canadians.
  • In 2004/2005, the Canadian health care system spent a mean of $6,915 per patient for patients who had a primary diagnosis of diseases of the esophagus and associated complications, for a total of $52,235,910. Imagine that number today!

Symptoms:

  • Cramps, spasms, or shooting pain in the abdomen
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Difficult time losing (or gaining) weight
  • Acne or other skin conditions
  • Undigested food in your stool
  • Headaches
  • Feeling of fatigue after eating
  • Weak, brittle nails
  • Fiery sensation or acidic bubbling feeling in the throat or hot, burning sensation in the chest
  • Regurgitation or the experience of ‘wet’ burping
  • Painful swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Nausea, bloating, or abdominal discomfort
  • Breathing difficulties such as excessive coughing, straining or wheezing

From the first recognizable onset of symptoms, it takes an average time of one year to obtain a diagnosis for gut disorders. In some cases, the time to diagnosis may take as long as 12 years. That is a lot of suffering.

The lack of good gut health has been linked to anxiety, depression, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and hormonal problems.

In Functional Medicine, the gut is the foundation of health. Any disturbed function here can result in the development of symptoms or disease potentially anywhere in the body. The gut truly sets the ceiling of your health.

Functional GI pain accounts for more than half of the GI consults with gastroenterologists. When a patient does not meet criteria for functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, or abdominal migraine, they fall into the catchall category of functional abdominal pain.

Diagnostic criteria include: continuous or episodic abdominal pain occurring at least weekly for more than two months with no evidence of an inflammatory, anatomic, metabolic, or neoplastic (cancerous) process. Functional GI pain means that “there isn’t anything we can see, like an ulcer, but there is something abnormal happening in the gut.”

It is important to know that there are more nerves in the gut than in the brain and spinal cord. The process of transmission of pain from gut to brain is very complex and do not ever let any doctor tell you, “your problem is all in your head.”

At the Functional Health Institute, we typically treat patients with chronic GI pain after GI specialists and other doctors have ruled out common treatable conditions, or when the prescribed conventional treatment has not been effective. We look ‘upstream’ to consider the complex web of interactions in your history, physiology, and lifestyle that are contributing to your symptoms. After a thorough medical history intake, we utilize the latest laboratory testing to discover the root cause(s) of the problem.

Call us today to schedule a personal health consultation and we will sit down with you to help determine how we can help with your health goals.

Request a FREE consultation to see if Functional Medicine is right for you!